Trail User Survey Workbook

RTC's guide to conducting a survey, including sample surveys and methods.

by Rails to Trails Conservancy

The purpose of this manual is to help you implement a trail user survey and determine

the economic impact that your trail has on your community. Let’s begin by looking at the steps involved in a survey project.

• Establish the goals of the project – what do you want to learn?

• Determine who you want to interview

• Choose a data collection methodology

• Create your questionnaire

• Collect the data – ask the questions

• Analyze the data

• Produce a report

About the Author


Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. RTC’s mission, and its value, is magnified in urban areas, where one mile of trail can completely redefine the livability of a community. Where trails are more than just recreational amenities, creating opportunities for active transportation and physical activity—improving our health and wellbeing—as they safely connect us to jobs, schools, businesses, parks, and cultural institutions in our own neighborhoods and beyond.

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