An Equitable Approach to Trail Development: Circuit Trails Gap Analysis

In this webinar, PEC coworkers and co-creators of the Circuit Trails Gap Analysis will provide an introduction to the genesis, development, and implementation of the Gap Analysis, including a look at their online mapping portal and recent real-world case studies.

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Event Details

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February 23, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:00 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


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Webinar Outline

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) is working hard to grow the Circuit Trails network, adding trail miles and making the network more accessible and inclusive to more people.

As a Circuit Trails coalition leader, PEC knows that trail development is often opportunistic (the metaphorical “low-hanging fruit”) and is carried out by numerous trail builders. The result is discontinuous trails (gaps), and a lack of trail development in under-resourced communities. For this reason, while it is important to continue to expand our trail networks outward, it is sometimes more important to fill gaps within the existing trail network – gaps that may connect miles of trails to one another; provide trail access to under-resourced communities; and connect users to parks, transit, and jobs.

As a result, PEC developed the Circuit Trails Gap Analysis, a report and online mapping portal that ranks all 250+ unbuilt Circuit Trails segments according to their potential equity impact if constructed. Additionally, the Gap Analysis provides a framework for the buildout of the Circuit Trails network that prioritizes benefits to low-income, racially diverse communities and access to jobs, public transportation, and parks and recreation.

In this webinar, PEC coworkers and co-creators of the Circuit Trails Gap Analysis Zhenya "Z" Nalywayko and Helena Kotala will provide an introduction to the genesis, development, and implementation of the Gap Analysis, including a look at their online mapping portal and recent real-world case studies, hoping to inspire attendees from other trail groups/coalitions across the country who are looking to do the same type of analysis/planning.

For additional details on the Circuit Trails, view this webinar: Study, Action, Reflection: Increasing the Diversity of Trail Users and Supporters.

Similarities between the Gap Analysis of the Circuit Trails (this webinar) and the Equity of Access to Trails study (webinar noted above) is that they are both part of the Circuit Trails Coalition’s ongoing efforts to increase access for all and reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion.

The differences lie in the intent and implementation of these two plans/tools.

  • The Equity of Access to Trails study was an assessment of how low-income/disadvantaged groups interact with the Circuit Trails network and in turn how the Circuit Trails interacts with these groups. The outcomes of this study were the creation of a Circuit Trails DEIJ task force and a commitment to make existing and future trails more welcoming to these groups – but not the construction of new trails based on their potential equity impacts.
  • The Gap Analysis of the Circuit Trails, on the other hand, is a planning tool that looks to guide the development of new trails toward areas where the construction of a trail would have the biggest potential impact according to a variety of factors, including access to jobs, public transportation, parks and recreation, and etc. The Gap Analysis is already being used by our non-profit and county partners to identify new trails for advocacy and as priorities for development and funding.

In a nutshell, the Equity of Access to Trails study is theoretically-focused and has resulted in ongoing conversations – some of which have led to the development of the Gap Analysis – whereas the Gap Analysis is a practical tool PEC developed for our partners to use as we push for the equitable development of all 850+ miles of Circuit Trails. You can view the Gap Analysis report here and online mapping portal here.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the important of JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion)
  • Discover the importance of Trail Planning & Trail Network Development
  • Learn the importance of ArcGIS Mapping


This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

Webinar Resources

  • Gap Analysis Online Mapping Portal
  • Gap Analysis Print Report
  • Pennsylvania Environmental Council
  • Circuit Trails Coalition
  • Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission – Circuit Trails Map
  • Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission – IPD Scores
  • Inclusionary Trail Planning Toolkit
  • Equity of Access to Trails Study
  • Video: Gap Analysis Online Mapping Portal Training Webinar

    Webinar Partners


    Zhenya "Z" Nalywayko, Trails and Outdoor Recreation Program Coordinator, Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC)
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Zhenya Nalywayko is a planner, designer, and environmentalist with a deep love of nature, the people it creates, and the places they build. His work spans the Philadelphia region and includes park and trail planning, design, and development; community outreach and engagement; and graphic design for a variety of clients. Whether he’s getting his hands dirty in the garden, getting busy on Adobe, or talking to people about parks and trails, Zhenya lives at the intersection of humans and the great outdoors.

    Zhenya holds degrees in Geography and City/Regional Planning from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, and is proud to call Philadelphia home.


    Helena Kotala, Program Manager and GIS Specialist, Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC)
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Helena Kotala is a Program Manager and GIS Specialist with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, where she combines her love of maps, storytelling, environmental conservation and advocacy. Her work spans a variety of projects across Pennsylvania, from the creation of data-based tools such as the Circuit Trails Gap Analysis to designing trail maps and planning bike events. She is based near State College, PA and is an avid cyclist and outdoor adventurer who believes in expanding outdoor recreation and active transportation opportunities for all.


    Emilia Crotty, Senior Program Manager for Trails and Outdoor Recreation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC)
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Emilia Crotty is a Senior Program Manager for Trails & Outdoor Recreation at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, where she primarily focuses on equitable access to trails, nature, and outdoor experiences in Southeastern PA.

    Emilia works at the intersection of public health and the built environment, and has spent her career supporting active transportation through program development, education, and advocacy in New York City, Los Angeles, and now in Philadelphia. Ever since riding her bike to work in high school, she’s dreamed of a world where everyone, no matter their age, identity, or income level, has the space they need and deserve to move freely, safely, comfortably, and joyfully.


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    895 views • posted 01/23/2023