Reynolds, K.D., Wolch, J., Byrne, J., Chou, C.P., Feng, G., Weaver, S., et al. (2007). Trail Characteristics as Correlates of Urban Trail Use. American Journal of Health Promotion, 21(4), 335-345.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the environmental correlates of urban trail use. DESIGN: Three multiuse urban trails at least 15 miles in length were selected. Trails were divided into one-half-mile segments (N 5 102 total segments) and marked in the field. An audit of each trail was completed identifying built environmental features. A cross-sectional count of trail users was completed at each segment estimating the type of use, age, gender. SETTING: Data collection occurred on urban trails in Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles. SUBJECTS: Trained observers counted 17,338 users across the three trails. MEASURES: The SPACES for Trails instrument was used, and a trail count data collection sheet was developed. ANALYSIS: Univariate and multivariate Poisson regressions controlling for location of trail and density of the population within 1 mile of the trail. RESULTS: Positive associations with trail use were observed for mixed views (ß 5 .33, p ,.0001), streetlights (ß 5 .30, p , .0001), good trail condition (ß5 .28, p , .0001), and the presence of cafe´s (ß 5 .38, p , .0001) and other trailside facilities (ß5.08, p , .0001). Negative associations were observed for litter (ß 5 2.22, p , .0001), noise (ß 5 2.41, p , .0001), higher vegetation density (ß 5 2.10, p , .001), drainage features (ß5 2.67, p , .0003), natural areas adjacent to the trail (ß5 2.39, p , .0001), and tunnel present (ß 5 2.20, p , .04). CONCLUSIONS: These correlates should be confirmed in other studies and if supported should be considered in the promotion and design of urban trails.