About the Connecticut Trail Census

The Connecticut Trail Census is a statewide volunteer data collection program intended to inform a better understanding of multi-use trail use in the state of Connecticut and to make this important information available to trail user groups, administrators, government agencies and the general public.  The 2017-2018 pilot project is funded by a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Grant.

Goals of the Connecticut Trail Census


  • To understand who is using Connecticut’s multi-use trails when, why and by what means.
  • To educate trail user groups, administrators, state and local government agencies, and the general public about trails and their impacts.
  • To obtain multi-year information about trail use, user demographics, economic impacts, and trail amenities for identification of patterns and trends.
  • To promote active citizen participation in monitoring and understanding the value of trails.
  • To encourage sound trail building and maintenance programs based on collected data.

How it works

Fifteen trail sites have been selected to participate in the pilot data collection effort.  Selected trail groups/organizations:

  • Participate in volunteer trainings for infrared counter setup and data retrieval and survey data collection.
  • Install and maintain infrared counters (provided), conduct manual calibration counts, and download data quarterly to determine how many and when people are using multi-use trails
  • Conduct Intercept surveys (face to face interactions with trail users involving a list of predetermined questions) to understand demographics of trail users including age, gender, location of residence, economic impacts, and needed trail amenities.
  • Communicate the results of this data collection to constituents and partners.

The University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research will host the collected data and will disseminate the information freely and openly through interactive maps, data download or interactive data visualization tools.

Participating trails are paved or stone dust multi-use trails.  Trails were selected to participate in the pilot study based on: demonstrated ability to identify a community based project leader, demonstrated capacity and ability to identify 3-5 volunteers who will participate in training, ability to administer infrared counters, an ability to collect data in May/September on a designated schedule, connectivity to other trails and amenities, trail length, and demonstration of how they will make use of and communicate the data.

Learn More

For more information about this program or to inquire about how your community or trail can be included, contact:  Aaron Budris, abudris@nvcogct.org 203.757.0535 or Laura Brown, laura.brown@uconn.edu 608-213-4503.

This project is being conducted in a partnership between the Connecticut Greenways Council, Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG), UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources – Department of Extension and the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR), and the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.