Shared-Use Path Level of Service Calculator and Users Guide

The purpose of this guide is to introduce practitioners and others to: 1) the findings of our study on the quality of service on trails; 2) a new analytical tool called the Shared-Use Path Level of Service (LOS) Calculator, and 3) potential implications for trail design.

by Federal Highway Administration


Shared Use Path Level of Service Calculator


This guide is intended primarily for trail planners, designers, and managers, which include professionals from a wide variety of disciplines—planners, landscape architects, transportation engineers, bicycle and pedestrian transportation specialists, and park and recreation planners and managers. It may also be useful for trail, bicycle, and pedestrian advocates; elected officials; planning and park commissioners; and other members of the public—especially those who find themselves involved in trail planning efforts or in situations involving trail user conflicts that stem from high volumes and diverse mode mixes. These conditions are increasingly common on trails located in urban, suburban, and high-use recreational areas.

The purpose of this guide is to introduce practitioners and others to: 1) the findings of our study on the quality of service on trails; 2) a new analytical tool called the Shared-Use Path Level of Service (LOS) Calculator, and 3) potential implications for trail design.The tool can be used for a variety of trail planning tasks, where quantitative evaluation is needed to assist in solving design or management problems.

Published July 30, 2006

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.

More articles by this author

More Articles in this Category

FAQ: What is the definition of a trail?

Defining a trail corridor in law, policy, and planning.

Design for Understanding: Protecting Trail Users in the Time of Covid-19

Don Meeker, president of Terrabilt, reflects on trails as a critical sanctuary during COVID-19, and provides guidance on signage to keep everyone on trails safe. Terrabilt will also provide the production artwork for their COVID-19 trail sign for free.

Mountain Bike Trails Concept Plan for Moose River Plains Wild Forest

IMBA Trail Solutions visited the Moose River Plains Wild Forest for one week in October of 2013 to conduct field research, meet with stakeholders, and to begin the process of developing a conceptual design for mountain bike use in the area. All of the designs presented in this report are conceptual in nature and have not been completely field verified. Additional work will need to be done in the field to finalize the designs of reroutes and proposed trails described in this report.

Mountain Biking Comes to Town

Bike parks are not trails. They are managed similarly to city parks. They require a higher standard of care. They need to be professionally designed and constructed.