How do we advocate for more trails?

  The main function of a SORBA chapter is to represent the interest of cyclist in the community. This chapter focuses on trail advocacy in Cobb, Douglas and Paulding counties. We work hard to foster relationships with local governments and land managers because they play a vital part in retaining access to current trail systems and the development of new trails for future users. One consistent take-away from our meetings with these entities is the importance of real-time data with regard to trail usage statistics. It is not enough to just “guesstimate” how many riders use a park or a specific trail. we need hard facts to help make our case for more trails closer to home. To help facilitate these conversations we have decided to implement a bicycle traffic counting system at some of our trails. The idea of collecting trail data is not a new one and a few local land managers already have motion sensors installed to know how many users visit their parks. We want to be able to differentiate between foot traffic and wheeled traffic. The TRAFx counting system we chose uses magnetic sensors to specifically detect bicycle traffic and is a great way to collect data without changing the user's outdoor experience. This data is invaluable for helping us know which type of trails users prefer and in turn it can help us make educated decisions on what kind of trails we advocate for in the future. The statistics collected by the TRAFx bike counter system will also be a vital tool to aid us when applying for grants and other funding for trail construction and maintenance.

If you would like to know more about how the TRAFx system works please visit www.trafx.net, or to read real life applications of this kind of data and the changes it can bring to a community, check out these case studies. If you would like to help us actually collect data from devices please contact jcamp@sorbawestgeorgia.org.

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