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Benefits of Trails

Lessons From Local Data

Alexandra BrodkaProject Manager, Hamilton Burlington Trails Council

Friday November 24th, 2016.

Speaking point regarding images selected- connectivity to outside natural spaces (which we will get to later)

OutlineWho is HBTC?

2015-2016 Trail Use Survey


Impact of findings on local projects


The Hamilton-Burlington Trails CouncilOur MissionTo serve as a trail alliance in developing and communicating a first class trail system in the Hamilton Burlington region, which promotes the health benefits of recreational trail use to residents and visitors while conserving our valuable natural ecosystems.

Discuss organization structure and partners

The Hamilton-Burlington Trails Council

Goals & ObjectivesTrail development and accessibilityCommunicationAdvocacyForum for DiscussionComprehensive and Up-to-date Trail Information and Mapping

Discuss that activities are directed towards local priorities but also a provincial vision (specific projects to be outlined later)

Trail Use Survey11 sites across Hamilton and BurlingtonOn trail and online surveys Multi- use paths, trails, bikewaysJuly 2015- July 2016User demographicsCountsUser feedback

Strategically chosen sites (align with city trail counters)Defining trail for our communitySeasonal data for each site and randomly selected timesVolunteers from McMaster and the community1124 surveys, over 18 000 counts

RationaleIdentify areas for trail improvement and highlight areas of success

Understand user patterns and needs

Facilitate development of a regional greenway

-important to recognize successes-needs are unique in every community-developing a presence in the community-greenway project outline (connectivity within and between each city)

FindingsHow People Access Trails#1- foot#2- vehicle#3- bike

.Transit was less than 2%

- Consistent across all seasonsMost seasons, less than 2% accessed trails by transit The trail that was right on the transit line showed highest number of transit users (build it and they will come).- Ottawa Street (67% of trail users on this trail used it for under 30 min. trips).

Regional Greenway ProjectCreating Connectivity in and between Hamilton and Burlington

-inspired by Indianapolis

The risk of obesity goes up 6% for every hour spent in a car each day, while the risk of obesity goes down almost 5% for every kilometer walked a day (Transport Canada, 2011).Supporting safe, efficient and ACTIVE tripsConnections to transitMaking trips by vehicle LESS appealing

-regional greenway project: creating connectivity, safe for all users, connections to LRT, Sobi (transportation hubs)

FindingsTrail UseOut of 18286 Counts..

21% Cycling62% Walking9% Jogging0.05% Wheelchair users

-accessibility (immersive media, getting to trails, building trails in accessible locations,)-supporting multiple uses

Interactive Trail Map ProjectHelping residents and visitors find appropriate routes for their needs and activities!

-different filters-future applicationsAccessibilitySupport from public health

FindingsUser Demographics

Out of 1124 Surveys..

27% Age 18-3412% Age 35-4414% Age45-5421% 55-6426% 65+

Out of 18286 Counts..

1692 children1436 dogs

Youth partnership projectDog trails

Youth Partnership ProgramInspiring youth to get outside and empowering community leaders!

- Big brothers big sisters, back to nature network

FindingsTrail Use PatternsExclusive use of one trailExercise and relaxationCommutingSeasonal trends

In all seasons, over 50% of people reported exclusively using the trail that they were surveyed on (no car, proximity to home, commuting)If people enjoy using the trails for exercise and relaxation, how can we support this? (fitness trails, art instillations, connections to natural spaces)Trails near university show higher rates of commuting Fall and summer had more than double the users that winter and spring did

FindingsQualitative FeedbackUser conflictsAmenitiesWay Finding

-mountain bike groupsOnline trail mapConnections to amenities and local business (urban context)

Off Leash Dog TrailsActive dogs AND active owners!

High Park, TorontoCentennial Park, Thunder Bay

Mountain Bike GroupUsers are willing to put in work, they just need the right platform!

Local then provincial groups

ConclusionIt is critical to understand the needs specific to your population.

Local organizations should be teaming up to collect data that will help them collectively drive projects that work towards healthy, vibrant and well- connected communities.

Thank You!Alexandra Brodka

[email protected]@TrailsHB


Transport Canada, (2011). Active Transportation in Canada: A Resource and Planning Guide. Retrieved from