Trail User Survey and Business Survey Report

Great Allegheny Passage

In 2014 the Trail Town Program® conducted a trail user survey along the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP). The GAP Trail runs from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD, spanning 150 miles. This trail is visited by almost a million users every year generating economic impact along the way. The trail itself is owned and operated by several local trail organizations and merge under one coalition known as the Allegheny Trail Alliance.

by The Trail Town Program

The purpose of these studies is to provide information regarding the economic impacts of the GAP Trail. This is utilized methods from the 2012 trail user survey and business survey. Trail User survey forums were distributed to eleven towns beginning in Homestead, PA to Cumberland, MD and 562 surveys were collected for this study. Over half of the users reported that this was their first trip along the GAP trail and the majority were traveling in groups of two. 

Roughly 62% of trail users were planning an overnight stay with an overnight spending average of $124.58. This has increased by $26 since the 2008 trail user survey. The average day user spends roughly $18. 

Business surveys were collected online through an online polling method. Surveys were also collected through paper copies as well and inputted into the online forum. Forty-five businesses responded to the survey. The majority of these businesses that reported were from lodging, eateries, and retail. The majority of businesses that responded to the survey had been in businesses in that location between 1 and 10 years. 

Businesses had reported an overall increase in trail user traffic from 34% in 2013 to 41% in 2014. Their reported international traffic was 6%, up 1% from last year. 40% of the businesses planned to expand and of those reported to expand 67% attributed their expansion to the impact from the trail. 

From all previous studies, there has been an overall increase in trail user economic impact along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Attached document published March 2015

About the Author


There aren’t cash registers on the trail. So if you want cyclists to boost your local economy, you have to tap your town into that opportunity— actively. Pedal your whole community forward by transforming into a bike-friendly destination where people want to stay, explore and spend. Our Trail Town Program®, created by The Progress Fund, was the first to test this idea. And we’ve proven it works, multiplying the economic impact along the Great Allegheny Passage over 10+ years. We’re the longest-running, most successful Trail Town revitalization project. Follow our lead.

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