Best Practices for Bicycle Trail Pavement Construction and Maintenance in Illinois

The main objectives of this report were to provide the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) with guidelines for the structural design of bicycle trail pavement and recommendations for bicycle trail pavement maintenance.

by Illinois Center for Transportation

A design procedure based on three construction traffic factors and three pavement load levels was developed for Portland cement concrete, hot-mix asphalt, and granular/surface treatment surfaces. The bicycle trail design is determined by the level of construction traffic and the weight characteristics of maintenance vehicles or any other vehicle that regularly operate on the trail. Comparisons were made between the proposed design procedures and the performance of trails surveyed in northern, central, and southern Illinois. The results of the survey indicated that the proposed design procedure should produce a structural trail section that performs well over time. Detailed life cycle cost analyses were conducted for different trail designs and different pavement materials for a design period of 20 years. The analyses showed that relative costs were influenced by surface type and maintenance strategies that were required based on the particular surface type used.

About the Author


Illinois Center for Transportation promotes innovation and progress in transportation through interdisciplinary research in an objective setting. In light of ICT’s efforts, the state and nation benefit from such a rapid response to researching future transportation challenges, which provides readiness to adapt to the changing needs.

More articles in this category

Building a Permeable, Low Maintenance Recreational Trail Along a Shoreline

posted Apr 7, 2023

In 2009, the city of The Colony planned to build a recreational trail (10 foot-wide, 3.5 mile pathway) that would run along the lake’s shoreline, contouring to its natural shape and providing residents with a picturesque route for outdoor activities such as walking, jogging, and cycling. The city selected the GEOWEB® Soil Stabilization System due to its flexibility to conform to curves, surface permeability, and low maintenance design.

The influence of use-related, environmental, and managerial factors on soil loss from recreational trails

posted Jul 15, 2022

This research investigated the influence of several use-related, environmental, and managerial factors on soil loss on recreational trails and roads at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, a unit of the U.S. National Park Service.

All-Terrain Vehicle Sustainability Assessments

posted Jul 15, 2022

The sustainable management of ATV use is an expensive proposition requiring careful design, construction, and maintenance of ATV trails.

Assessing the Condition and Sustainability of the Trail System at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

posted Jul 15, 2022

This research assessed the condition and sustainability of the trail system at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, a National Park Service unit that partners with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the management of this unit.

322 views • posted 07/29/2020