Rail corridors are a natural fit for bicycle and pedestrian travel, having gradual grades and separated crossings, as well as scenic landscapes between population centers. Both rails-with-trails and rails-to-trails present viable opportunities for active and inactive rail corridors to enhance a community’s livability and economic vitality.
Rail-to-trail projects utilize unproductive or nonviable railway corridors for recreation and transportation routes. The process of rail-banking is an alternative to abandonment that retains the integrity of the corridor in perpetuity, while alleviating rail companies of legal and financial burdens. Rail-with-trail projects, on the other hand, seek opportunities for the two entities to co-exist within the same corridor. As the author of the FHWA’s “Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned,” and lead consultant on numerous rail-trail projects throughout the United States, Alta is one of the nation’s foremost experts in the planning and design of rail-trail corridors in both constrained urban locations and challenging natural settings.