Rails With Trails: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

This updated Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned report documents how the state of the practice, perspectives, and context for rails-with-trails have evolved since 2002 and includes updated effective practices.

by Federal Highway Administration


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In 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published its first Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned report, which summarized the state of the practice and lessons learned regarding the development, construction, and operation of railswith-trails. This updated Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned report documents how the state of the practice, perspectives, and context for rails-with-trails have evolved since 2002 and includes updated effective practices.

The information presented in this report is based on extensive research into existing and planned rails-with-trails that involved interviews with railroad officials and trail managers; a literature review of previous rail-with-trail studies; a review of trail planning guidance documents; and input from various railroad and trail professionals.

Published June 2021

About the Author


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.

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