The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has been on the forefront in recognizing the potential for bicycle travel to provide mobility, reduce congestion, improve environmental quality, and promote healthy lifestyles. An important component of RIDOT’s mission has been to create a balanced transportation system that embraces a multi-modal approach to transportation decision-making and bicycling has remained central to the department’s inter-modal planning efforts. RIDOT has aggressively pursued a strategy of acquiring abandoned rail lines to convert into scenic commuter and recreational trails. RIDOT’s efforts have produced a very popular resource for touring, recreational, exercise, and commuting activities. As part of RIDOT’s continuing efforts to promote bicycle use as another form of transportation, planners in RIDOT’s Intermodal Planning Division identified the need to compile a comprehensive survey of bike path activity that would provide a gauge of demand and general attitudes. The construction of several new bikeways as part of RIDOT’s statewide bicycle plan have intensified the need for new and current data on path use, types of users, maintenance issues, and the positive economic potential of the state’s bikeways to local businesses. The survey results show that visitors to the bike paths came from all age groups and from all over the state. The paths are clearly facilities with wide appeal. In fact, 99.12% of respondents, answered “yes” when asked if bike path construction constituted good use of tax dollars. The results of the survey reveal enthusiastic support for the bikeways as a facility to promote a healthy lifestyle; unfortunately, use of the bike paths as an alternative facility for commuting remains near its low 1996 level. The lack of restroom facilities and drinking water were the two common complaints from visitors from all of the paths; there are safety concerns about intersections with motor vehicles. Overall, the survey has provided the Intermodal Planning Division a valuable source of information for improving, maintaining, and providing high quality facilities. The results of this survey presented in this paper in descriptive form are useful to planners responsible for developing, expanding and maintaining bike paths in other parts of the country.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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