The 2017 Indiana Trails Study, conducted by the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University’s School of Public Health, is complete. The study is a follow-up to and expansion of the acclaimed 2001 Indiana Trails Study, collecting data on trail use, health factors related to trail use, and the economic impact of trails throughout the State of Indiana. The Eppley Institute collected statistically valid data through various surveys that will inform future trail development, operations, and maintenance efforts. Over 2,000 trail users, non-trail users, and trail neighbors participated in the study.
The eight trails studied are:
- Erie-Lackawanna Trail in NW Indiana
- Rivergreenway in Fort Wayne
- Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in Elkhart and LaGrange Counties
- Monon Trail in Indianapolis and Carmel
- The Cardinal Greenway from Marion to Muncie to Richmond
- Nickel Plate Trail in Kokomo, Rochester and Peru
- The People Trail in Columbus
- The B-line Trail in Bloomington
Some key findings from the study include:
- 52% of trail users were bikers. This represents a significant shift since 2001 when the most popular activity was walking.
- 67% of trail users report increasing their exercise level because of the presence of a trail
- Trail users report spending an average of $3564 annually on trail related expenses
- Trail users report better overall health, fewer sleep problems, less pain, and less stress than non-users.
- 66% of adjacent property owners believe the trail has increased their property value.
Complete reporting and analysis of the findings can be found in the 2017 Indiana Trail Study Summary Report along with reports for each participating trail. The research team also expects to publish articles in peer-reviewed journals discussing the health impacts of trail use and other study results.