MassTrails, Governor Baker's team working on our statewide trail network, recently released their Shared Use Path Benefits Primer and Shared Use Paths Impact Study. These resources summarize a study MassTrails did on the impacts of four shared use pathways across the Commonwealth. The study sought to understand how shared use pathways comprehensively affect our communities by looking at their economic, health, transportation, environmental, safety, accessibility, and equity impacts.
The key findings show that shared use paths come with robust benefits for communities across the commonwealth. They found in terms of transportation that, “During the study period, the shared use paths encouraged over 90,000 active commute trips and reduced motor vehicle travel by over 700,000 miles.” The study only looked at the pathways during a four-month period in 2019– imagine how many active commute trips could be encouraged through a statewide network of shared use pathways. Advocates across Massachusetts have been discussing the benefits of these paths for a long time and now there is local data to back up our claims.
The Shared Use Path Benefits Primer will be an excellent tool for advocates working to build shared use pathways in their communities. It takes the key study findings and makes them accessible for community members to understand the immense benefits of these pathways. Those who wish to understand the detailed methodology and findings from the study can take a look at the comprehensive report.
MassTrails has created a very valuable tool for advocates across the commonwealth and we’re grateful for the hard work that went into this comprehensive look at shared use pathway benefits in Massachusetts. Now we can cite local data to support our trails as we seek to connect our statewide network.
You can access the Shared Use Path Benefits Primer and Shared Use Paths Impact Study at www.mass.gov/guides/benefits-of-shared-use-paths