Source: Making Trails Count In Illinois (PDF)
In mid-July 2012, Trails for Illinois and its partner Rails-to-Trails Conservancy drove more than 1,200 miles of back roads and interstates to install 18 electronic trail use counters—simple, dependable devices that discreetly tallied people passing by—on six non-motorized Illinois trails:
- Fox River Trail in Chicago’s western suburbs
- MCT Goshen Trail in the St. Louis metro region
- Hennepin Canal State Trail in north central Illinois
- Old Plank Road Trail in Chicago’s south suburbs
- Rock Island State Trail in central Illinois
- Tunnel Hill State Trail in southern Illinois
By August, Trails for Illinois volunteers were trailside, surveying trail users—people walking, running, cycling, traveling cross country or getting in a morning workout—two days a week. Volunteers contributed more than 500 hours collecting nearly 800 surveys from trail users of all types.
The counts and the surveys continued to mid-October 2012, collecting data for almost 13 weeks. Survey data was sent to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Office of Recreation and Park Resources for analysis, while Rails-to-Trails Conservancy collected and analyzed data from the trail counters. This report summarizes their findings, beginning on page five.