U.S. Bicycle Route System Hits 30-State Milestone

9 March 2011

30 states now working to establish official national bicycle routes, with more states interested new online map and progress report document growing momentum

Missoula, MontanaAdventure Cycling Association today announced a new "state-by-state progress" webpage for the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). The new online resource displays the National Corridor Plan map for the USBRS, which links to a progress report on every state's work to establish official U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBR).

As of February, 30 states are working to implement U.S. Bike Routes for cycling transportation, recreation, and tourism. The number of states working on routes has more than doubled in the past year, and this spring, it's expected that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) will approve the first new U.S. Bicycle Routes in nearly three decades. Another 11 states have also expressed interest in working on the USBRS.

Ginny Sullivan, special projects director for Adventure Cycling, said, "We are surprised and excited by the level of support for this project, and the fact that we're drawing interest from rural to urban states in all parts of the country." Sullivan added, "The new online map and progress report allows us to communicate each state's efforts very easily, and helps demonstrate how quickly momentum for the U.S. Bicycle Route System is growing."

The National Corridor Plan map for the USBRS is shown at the top of the new webpage and displays 50-mile wide "corridors" across the U.S. that are the most suitable (to date) for implementation of U.S. Bike Routes. (The plan can change based upon state opportunities and interests, creating new corridors or realignments.) As corridors become routes, the wide swaths of color that define corridors on the map will become solid lines, to define actual routes. (At present, there are only two existing USBRs, which were approved in the early 1980s — see USBR 76 in Virginia, Kentucky, and Illinois, and USBR 1 in Virginia and North Carolina).

Users can review each state's recommended corridors on the map, then hover over a state of their choice, click, and jump to a description of that state's progress, which includes its "implementation model," its "status" (or phase of implementation), a brief description of the work being done, as well as contact information and related websites for that state.

The state's "implementation model" describes what type of entity within a state is leading the U.S. Bike Route effort. So far three dominant implementation models have emerged: efforts driven by state Department of Transportation (DOTs), volunteer driven implementation, and work teams made up of public and private leaders.

A state's "status" is displayed as one of three phases: planning, implementation, or promotion. As states move into the promotion phase (having established their routes through the official AASHTO route numbering process), a state's progress report will link to DOT and bike/trail websites where USBR maps and turn-by-turn instructions for bicycle travelers may be available for download.

Building this new online resource has helped Adventure Cycling raise awareness about the U.S. Bicycle Route System among state DOTs and allowed U.S. Bike Route leaders to take a role as the primary contact person for their state's effort. Up to this point, Adventure Cycling has handled most volunteer inquiries, directing them one-by-one to state contacts.

"It's fantastic to have a central resource for cyclists who are interested in helping to build the U.S. Bicycle Route System," said Sullivan. "In addition, with this resource we'll be able to share the route maps with cyclists as they're developed in each state."

You can view the "state-by-state progress" webpage at the following link: http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/usbrs/.

Support for Adventure Cycling's work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System comes from the organization's members and donors, Bikes Belong, the SRAM Cycling Fund, the Lazar Foundation, New Belgium Brewing, and AASHTO's Center for Environmental Excellence.

When complete, the U.S. Bicycle Route System will be the largest official bike route network on the planet, encompassing more than 50,000 miles of routes. Learn more at www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs.