Use and Nonuse of a Rail Trail Conversion for Physical Activity: Implications for Promoting Trail Use

The purpose was to examine 9 adult activity settings in 25 community parks to determine the most and least frequently used by gender, physical-activity (PA) intensity, and ethnicity.

Cape Cod Rail Trail in Harwich, Massachusetts, 2014.

Anna E. Price and Julian A.


There is limited research examining both use and nonuse of trails for physicalactivity.


Such research might enable health educators to better promote physicalactivity on trails.


We used random digit dialing methods to survey 726 respondentsin 2012.


The majority (75.1%) of respondents reported not using the trail in theprevious 6 months. The odds of using the trail were greater among adults compared to olderadults and those with a high school degree or college degree compared to those with less thana high school degree. Fifteen percent of trail users reported using the trail regularly (i.e., atleast 30 minutes, 3 days/week). Trail characteristics preferred by trail users and reasons fornot using the trail among nonusers were also examined.


These findings might beuseful for health educators promoting physical activity on trails. Translation to HealthEducation


Persons promoting physical activity on trails should highlight those trailcharacteristics preferred by trail users, including the trails’ convenient location, beauty, anddesign. There is an opportunity to promote trail use among older adults and those with loweducation levels; promoting active transportation on trails might be especially useful amongthose with low education levels.