assess anywhere

trail assessment and mapping services

assessing anywhere

trail assessment &
mapping services

our services

Beneficial Designs offers a variety of services to help maximize the potential of your trail system, ensure compliance with federal standards, increase trail use, and create a safe and beneficial trail environment for people of all abilities. Contact us to inquire more about any of our services, which include:

trail assessment
data processing and reports
GIS data and mapping services
TAI mapping and signage services
training workshops
existing trail and signage review

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the process

Beneficial Designs regularly performs HETAP trail assessments across the nation, collecting and processing data, and producing a variety of information displays to communicate trail access information to the public as well as land management.

The following information gives a general overview of each step of the Beneficial Designs trail assessment process, in addition to trail assessment training services.

the process

Beneficial Designs regularly performs HETAP trail assessments across the nation, collecting and processing data and producing a variety of information displays to communicate trail access information to the public as well as land management.

The following information gives a general overview of each step of the Beneficial Designs trail assessment process, in addition to trail assessment training services.

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step 1 plan

What you should know before beginning a trail assessment.

step 2 assess

See how the assessment process is performed.

step 3 process

What we do with the collected data.

step 4 display

Making collected data visual and accessible.

training workshops

Equip your team to assess.

step 1 plan

What you should know before beginning a trail assessment.

step 2 assess

See how the assessment process is performed.

step 3 process

What we do with the collected data.

step 4 display

Making collected data visual and accessible.

training workshops

Equip your team to assess.

beneficial services

trail assessment and mapping services

trail assessment and
mapping services

step 1 plan

what is the area to be assessed?

Before beginning a trail assessment, the area to be assessed should be described.
What is the area? Is it a park?
How many trails will need to be assessed and how many segments exist within each trail?
How many miles of trail will need to be assessed?

who will perform the assessment?

Beneficial Designs regularly performs the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) for numerous clients. However, you may want to do the assessment yourself. In that case, Beneficial Designs offers training and products so you will be well-equipped and ready to continue the trail assessment process into the future. What method of assessment would you like to use? Take a look at the tools section to determine which method will best suit your needs. Should you choose to perform the assessment, Beneficial Designs is available to work with you to process and display the data if necessary.

what are the end products?

What purpose will the assessment data serve? What is the end goal?
Beneficial Designs offers a variety of products based on your trail assessment data. Some options include:

trail maps

Trail data can be processed and utilized to produce customized trail maps. All relevant objective trail access information is displayed within the map, allowing users to know exactly where they can best travel throughout the trail system. Maps can be displayed on outdoor panels, online, in brochures, or just about anywhere.

Trail Access Information (TAI) SignPosts

Like trail maps, TAI SignPosts provide trail users with the vital trail facts necessary to make informed and safe decisions. TAI SignPosts are designed for individual trails and include more information than is typically shown on a trail map. SignPosts are located at trailheads, ensuring that users will always be informed throughout the trail system.

GIS datasets

GIS services from Beneficial Designs can provide clients with the ability to take detailed trail assessment data collected using HETAP and add a spatial component. The GPS coordinates collected during the assessment process are used to generate an accurate representation of the trail and then detailed HETAP information is linked to each individual trail or trail segment assessed. Trails that were previously mapped on paper are now able to not only be mapped digitally, but also carry all of the trail assessment data collected as part of the HETAP process.

other?

Have other ideas? Please share! Beneficial Designs would love to work with you to help provide access and information in creative new ways!

what is the budget?

We’re flexible! Let us know what kind of budget you are planning so we can work with you. Various assessment options are available at a range of prices. Contact Beneficial Designs to find out what method will work best for your specific needs.

what is the project time frame?

How much time is available for the project? When is the absolute deadline? When is the best time of year for your trails to be assessed?

Assessing trails takes time and is not always possible during certain seasonal weather conditions. However, while snow poses certain limitations, cross-country ski trails can be assessed. Knowing the number of trail miles will help determine the speed at which the assessment can take place. Beneficial Designs trail assessment coordinators are ready to travel, assess, and train. Just let us know the best times to schedule flights and start the process.

identify all trails that must be assessed

Figuring out which trails to assess can be a complicated process. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

collect basemaps

Any existing trail maps can be used to see which trails will be included in the assessment. Existing maps will also be useful during the assessment process if any new trail maps are to be designed.

confirm trail names and locations

Before assessors head into the field, it is important to confirm all trail names and locations. Make sure to confirm the number and location of segments per trail.

identify trail features to be collected

What type and quantity of features do you want surveyed along the trails? Restrooms, benches, interpretive signage, viewing areas, water spouts etc.?

List all necessary features so that the assessors will know exactly what to look for and assess.

identify and train the assessment team

How many people are available to assess? Are they able to hike the length of your trails?
Have they been trained in the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP), the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) and the Developed Outdoor Recreation Assessment Process (PROWAP)?

Beneficial Designs certified trail assessment coordinators are ready to train!

step 2 assess

what is assessed?

All types of trails can be assessed, from concrete to dirt to rocky surfaces and narrow ledges. Trail types may include trails for hiking, equestrians, mountain biking, beaches, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or motorized vehicles, including ATV, OHV, motorcycle, or snowmachines.

Once the assessment process begins, assessors will be focusing on the following main areas.

technical requirements

The technical requirements for trails and other outdoor recreation features mentioned below can be found in the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Standards (2015), which represent the minimum requirements. Best practice guidelines can also be found in the Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG) (2013) and the Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (FSORAG) (2013).

For more information regarding trail standards and guidelines, please visit our trails standards page.

trail length

Trail length helps users determine timing and difficulty when deciding on their ideal path. The length of surface found in between stations is recorded in the preferred metric (mi/km).

grade

Running Slope. The slope that is parallel to the direction of travel.
Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Standards (2015), pg 16

Running Slope (Grade). The ascent or descent of a trail segment expressed as a percentage of its length, which is the difference in elevation of a section of a trail measured parallel to the predominant direction of travel. This may be expressed as a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance or as the percentage of change in elevation.
Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG) (2013), pg 8

technical requirements

1017.7 Slopes. The slopes of trails shall comply with 1017.7.

1017.7.1 Maximum Running Slope and Segment Length. Not more than 30 percent of the total length of a trail shall have a running slope steeper than 1:12 (8.33%). The running slope of any segment of a trail shall not be steeper than 1:8 (12%). Where the running slope of a segment of a trail is steeper than 1:20 (5%), the maximum length of the segment shall be in accordance with Table 1017.7.1, and a resting interval complying with 1017.8 shall be provided at the top and bottom of each segment.

Table 1017.7.1 Maximum Running Slope and Segment Length

Running Slope of Trail Segment Maximum Length of Segment
Steeper thanBut not Steeper than 
1:20 (5%)1:12 (8.33%)200 feet (61 m)
1:12 (8.33%)1:10 (10%)30 feet (9 m)
1:10 (10%)1:8 (12%)10 feet (3050 mm)

Advisory 1017.7.1 Maximum Running Slope and Segment Length. Gradual running slopes on trails are more useable by individuals with disabilities. Where the terrain results in steeper running slopes, resting intervals are required more frequently. Where running slopes are less severe, resting intervals are permitted to be further apart.

1017.8 Resting Intervals. Resting intervals shall comply with 1017.8.

1017.8.1 Length. The resting interval length shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) long minimum.

1017.8.2 Width. Where resting intervals are provided within the trail tread, resting intervals shall be at least as wide as the widest segment of the trail tread leading to the resting interval. Where resting intervals are provided adjacent to the trail tread, the resting interval clear width shall be 36 inches (915 mm) minimum.

1017.8.3 Slope. Resting intervals shall have slopes not steeper than 1:48 in any direction.

EXCEPTION: Where the surface is other than concrete, asphalt, or boards, cross slopes not steeper than 1:20 shall be permitted when necessary for drainage.

1017.8.4 Turning Space. Where resting intervals are provided adjacent to the trail tread, a turning space complying with 304.3.2 shall be provided. Vertical alignment between the trail tread, turning space, and resting interval shall be nominally planar.

7.4.3 Slope.
Trail running slopes (grades) and cross slopes shall comply with sections 7.4.3.1 and 7.4.3.2.

7.4.3.1 Running Slope (Grade). The running slope (grade) of trail segments shall comply with this section and shall be consistent over the distances cited.

    • Trail running slope (grade) of up to 1:20 (5 percent) is permitted for any distance.
    • The running slope of any segment of a trail shall not be steeper than 1:8 (12 percent).
    • No more than 30 percent of the total trail length may exceed a running slope (grade) of 1:12 (8.33 percent).
    • Where the running slope (grade) of a segment of a trail is steeper than 1:20 (5 percent), the maximum length of the segment shall be in accordance with Table 7.4.3.1, and a resting interval complying with 7.4.4 shall be provided at each end of the segment.

Table 7.4.3.1 Running Slope (Grade) and Resting Intervals

Running Slope of Trail Segment Maximum Length of Segment
Steeper thanBut not Steeper thanBetween Resting Intervals
1:20 (5%)1:12 (8.33%)200 feet (61 m)
1:12 (8.33%)1:10 (10%)30 feet (9 m)
1:10 (10%)1:8 (12%)10 feet (3050 mm)

 

7.4.4 Resting Intervals.
Resting intervals shall comply with 7.4.4. Where the trail grade exceeds 1:20 (5 percent), resting intervals shall be provided as specified in Table 7.4.3.1.

7.4.4.1 Length. The resting interval length shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) long minimum.

7.4.4.2 Width. Where resting intervals are provided within the trail tread, resting intervals shall be at least as wide as the widest segment of the trail tread leading to the resting interval. Where resting intervals are provided adjacent to the trail tread, the resting interval clear width shall be 36 inches (915 mm) minimum.

7.4.4.3 Slope. The slope of a resting interval shall not exceed 1:20 (5 percent) in any direction. Where the surface is paved or is elevated above the natural ground, the slope shall not be steeper than 1:48 (2 percent) in any direction.

7.4.4.4 Turning Space. Where resting intervals are provided adjacent to the trail tread, a turning space complying with ABAAS section 304.3.2 shall be provided. Vertical alignment between the trail tread, turning space, and resting interval shall be nominally level. The trail tread, turning space, and resting interval may overlap.

grade data

Objective information about the typical and maximum grade is very useful to all user groups, especially mountain bike riders and persons with mobility limitations, including older persons and those that use canes, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs. 

Information about the maximum grade sections found on a trail is used to add detailed information to maps. The typical and maximum grades are displayed with the grade symbol to convey this pertinent information on TAI SignPosts and trailhead signage.

assessing grade

The average grade between two designated stations along the trail is measured with a clinometer or inclinometer. These measurements are then used to compute the typical grade for the entire trail. Short, steep sections are measured with a SmartTool™ with SmartFeet and recorded as maximum grade sections. The SmartTool™ level is 24 inches in length and thus measures the grade as it would be experienced over the course of a single stride, or by a stroller or wheelchair.

cross slope

Cross Slope. The slope that is perpendicular to the direction of travel.
Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Standards (2015), pg 14

Cross Slope. The percentage of rise to length, which is the difference in elevation, when measuring the trail tread from edge to edge perpendicular to the direction of travel This may be expressed as the percentage of change in elevation or as a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance.
Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG) (2013), pg 8

technical requirements

1017.7.2 Cross Slope. The cross slope shall be not be steeper than 1:48.

EXCEPTION: Where the surface is other than concrete, asphalt, or boards, cross slopes not steeper than 1:20 shall be permitted when necessary for drainage.

7.4.3.2 Cross Slope. The cross slope shall not exceed 1:20 (5 percent). Where the surface is paved or is elevated above the natural ground, the cross slope shall not be steeper than 1:48 (2 percent).

cross slope data

Cross-slope information is most useful to wheelchair users. Wheelchairs are very difficult to drive or maneuver on steep cross slopes.

Information about cross slope is used to add detailed information to maps. The typical and maximum cross slopes are displayed with the cross-slope symbol to convey this pertinent information on TAI SignPosts and trailhead signage.

assessing cross slope

Cross slope is measured at designated stations along the trail with a 24-inch inclinometer along the best path of travel. These measurements are then used to compute the typical cross slope for the entire trail. Similar to maximum grade, steep cross slope sections are measured with an inclinometer and recorded as maximum cross slope sections.

tread width

Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG) (2013), pg 9:

Tread Width. The visible trail surface measured perpendicular to the direction of travel.

Clear Tread Width. The width of the usable trail tread and adjacent usable surface.
Minimum Tread Width. The width of the usable part of the tread width at the narrowest point on a trail.
Minimum Trail Width. The width of the trail tread and the adjacent usable surface at the narrowest point on a trail.

technical requirements

1017.3 Clear Tread Width. The clear tread width of trails shall be 36 inches (915 mm) minimum.

1017.4 Passing Spaces. Trails with a clear tread width less than 60 inches (1525 mm) shall provide passing spaces complying with 1017.4 at intervals of 1000 feet (300 m) maximum. Where the full length of a trail does not fully comply with 1017, a passing space shall be located at the end of the trail segment that fully complies with 1017. Passing spaces and resting intervals shall be permitted to overlap.

Advisory 1017.4 Passing Spaces. Entities should consider providing either a 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum clear tread width or passing spaces at shorter intervals if the clear tread width is less than 60 inches (1525 mm), where a trail is:

    • Heavily used; or
    • A boardwalk or otherwise not at the same level as the ground surface adjoining the trail.

Where the full length of the trail does not fully comply with 1017, locating a passing space at the end of the trail segment that fully complies with 1017 enables a person who uses a mobility device to turn and exit the trail.

1017.4.1 Size. The passing space shall be either:

    1. A space 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum by 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum; or
    2. The intersection of two trails providing a T-shaped space complying with 304.3.2 where the base and the arms of the T-shaped space extend 48 inches (1220 mm) minimum beyond the intersection. Vertical alignment at the intersection of the trails that form the T-shaped space shall be nominally planar.

Advisory 1017.4.1 Size. Where the passing space is the intersection of two trails, the intersection must be as flat as possible so that all of the wheels of a mobility device touch the ground when turning into and out of the passing space.

7.4.2 Clear Tread Width.
The clear tread width of the trail shall be at least 36 inches (915 mm).

EXCEPTION: Where a condition for an exception prevents achieving the required width, the clear tread width may be reduced to 32 inches (815 mm) minimum. If the condition for an exception prevents achieving the reduced width of 32 inches, comply to the extent practicable.

7.4.5 Passing Spaces.
Trails with a clear tread width less than 60 inches (1525 mm) shall provide passing spaces complying with 7.4.5 at intervals of 1000 feet (300 m) maximum. A passing space must also be provided at the end of any segment of trail that meets the requirements of 7.4, if the full length of the trail does not meet the requirements. Passing spaces and resting intervals may coincide or overlap.

7.4.5.1 Size. The passing space shall be either:

    • A space 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum by 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum; or
    • The intersection of two trails providing a T-shaped space complying with ABAAS section 304.3.2 where the base and the arms of the T-shaped space extend 48 inches (1220 mm) minimum beyond the intersection. Vertical alignment at the intersection of the trails that form the T shaped space shall be nominally level.

7.4.5.2 Slope. The cross slope of a passing space shall not exceed 1:20 (5 percent) in any direction.

7.4.5.3 Non-complying Segment Ends. Where a segment of the trail does not comply with 7.4, a passing space shall be located at the end of each adjacent trail segment that does comply with 7.4.

tread width data

Objective information about the width of the trail and the locations of the narrowest sections is critical for people who use mobility devices such as strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs. The average manual wheelchair has a wheelbase width of less than 28 inches. If a trail narrows to 26 inches, persons in a 28-inch wheelchair will know that they will not be able to venture past this point unless they are capable of transferring out of their chair and maneuvering their chair through this narrow location. If the width of the trail is disclosed, mobility device users will be able to determine before embarking on a trail exactly how far they will be able to hike and whether they will be able to reach their destination.

assessing tread width

A tape measure is used to measure the width of the trail. The minimum tread width, or “beaten path,” is measured at each station and is used to calculate the typical tread width. The minimum amount of usable passage space between stations, or minimum clearance width, is also measured.

surface type & quality

Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines (FSTAG) (2013), pg 8-9:

Surface. The top layer of a trail.

Firm. A firm surface resists deformation by indentations. During the planning process, firmness must be evaluated for noticeable distortion or compression during the seasons for which the surface is managed, under normally occurring weather conditions.
Stable. A surface is not permanently affected by expected weather conditions and can sustain normal wear and tear from the expected use(s) of the area, between planned maintenance.

technical requirements

1017.2 Surface. The surface of trails, passing spaces, and resting intervals shall be firm and stable.

Advisory 1017.2 Surface. A firm trail surface resists deformation by indentations. A stable trail surface is not permanently affected by expected weather conditions and can sustain normal wear and tear from the expected uses between planned maintenance.

7.4.1 Surface.
The trail tread surface, including resting intervals and passing spaces, shall be both firm and stable.

surface type & quality data

The level of firmness and stability of a trail surface is usually the greatest factor affecting the accessibility of a trail. Firmness and stability will determine if a user can even walk or roll across the surface of the trail. A visual range can be provided for both firmness and stability.

assessing surface type & quality

The type of surface found in between stations is recorded, as well as a description of its characteristics.

While a simple method using one’s heel can subjectively estimate the firmness and stability of a surface, objective surface assessment requires more precise and advanced testing. The Rotational Penetrometer (RP) 100 Series is the perfect tool for testing the surface quality of a trail. Shipping a reconstructed representation of a trail surface to an off-site test lab for surface testing is impractical and, most likely, impossible. In contrast, RP readings been proven to correlate with ASTM F1951 surface testing results, providing accurate and reliable surface quality measurements. Portable, precise, and durable, the RP accurately and objectively measures surface quality for firmness and stability on-site.

obstructions

Any obstructions to the path of travel, whether within or protruding into the path of travel are recorded. Such features often include, but are not limited to rocks, ruts, or roots.

technical requirements

1017.5 Tread Obstacles. Tread obstacles on trails, passing spaces, and resting intervals shall not exceed 1/2 inch (13 mm) in height measured vertically to the highest point.

EXCEPTION: Where the surface is other than asphalt, concrete, or boards, tread obstacles shall be permitted to not exceed 2 inches (50 mm) in height measured vertically to the highest point.

Advisory 1017.5 Tread Obstacles. The vertical alignment of joints in concrete, asphalt, or board surfaces can be tread obstacles. Natural features such as tree roots and rocks within the trail tread can also be tread obstacles. Where possible, tread obstacles that cross the full width of the trail tread should be separated by a distance of 48 inches (1220 mm) minimum.

1017.6 Openings. Openings in the surface of trails, passing spaces, and resting intervals shall not allow the passage of a sphere more than 1/2 inch (13 mm) in diameter.

Advisory 1017.6 Openings. Elongated openings should be placed so that the long dimension is perpendicular, or as close to perpendicular as possible, to the dominant direction of travel.

1017.9 Protruding Objects. Constructed elements on trails, passing spaces, and resting intervals shall comply with 307.

Advisory 1017.9 Protruding Objects. Protruding objects on trails, passing spaces, and resting intervals can be hazardous for individuals who are blind or have low vision. Signs and other post mounted objects are examples of constructed elements that can be protruding objects.

7.4.6 Tread Obstacles.
Tread obstacles on trails shall not exceed 2 inches (50 mm) in height measured vertically to the highest point. Where the trail surface is paved or is elevated above the natural ground, tread obstacles shall not exceed ½ inch (13 mm) in height measured vertically to the highest point.

7.4.7 Openings.
Openings in trail tread surfaces, trail resting spaces, and trail passing spaces shall be small enough to prevent passage of a 1/2 inch- (13 mm-) diameter sphere. Where possible, elongated openings should be placed perpendicular, or as close to perpendicular as possible, to the dominant direction of travel.

Exception. Where openings that do not permit the passage of a ½ inch (6.4 mm) sphere cannot be provided due to a condition for an exception, openings that do not permit passage of a ¾ inch (19 mm) sphere shall be permitted.

7.4.8 Protruding Objects.
Constructed features, including signs, shall not extend into the trail tread more than 4 inches (100 mm) between 27 inches (685 mm) and 80 inches (2030 mm) above the surface of the trail.

additional features

Besides these five main areas of focus, other features along the way can be recorded and/or assessed typically for size, material, and quantity. More in-depth feature assessment procedures are available through the Developed Outdoor Recreation Assessment Process (DORAP). Such features may include trailhead signs, trash cans, water spouts, benches, restrooms, and many more.

technical requirements

For information regarding technical requirements of additional features, please see chapter 10: Recreation Facilities in the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards (ABAAS) or see the US Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (FSORAG).

speed of assessment

Our trail assessment experts have assessed many types of trails across the country and their experience and knowledge expedite the assessment. Using the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP), a single trail assessor using a cart or single roll-a-wheel should be able to measure grade, cross slope, tread width, surface quality, and obstructions along and beside a trail, at speeds of anywhere from 0.8 to 1.6 mph. This can be done at up to 8 times the speed of a manual assessment using only a smart level, measuring wheel, tape, and the DORAP mobile app (beta). Adding an additional assessor increases the speed at which an assessment can be done and provides an extra hand to measure while data is entered. For more information on the assessment methods, please visit the HETAP tools section.

data collection

Data is entered at each station. Stations can be recorded at any point, but generally are to be recorded at points along the trail when grade, cross-slope, tread width, surface type or firmness and stability changes. Stations should be recorded a minimum of every 25 feet, but the more stations that are recorded, the more accurate the GPS points and the typical grade, cross-slope and tread width information will be along the trail. The High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) software enables data to be automatically stored to a database and sorted, providing accurate and detailed summary trail reports for analysis. The HETAP software allows station data to be copied over to the next station, allowing users to record all necessary information quickly, without the need to re-enter repeating information like tread width, surface type and firmness and stability.

step 3 process

what happens to the collected data?

Once all the trail data has been collected our assessment coordinators work together to assemble the trail data, piecing together trails and/or segments in the HETAP software. The HETAP data is then specially formatted for ArcGIS and exported as a shapefile. Once shapefiles are imported into ArcGIS, Beneficial Designs can review the data points and confirm the correct placement and assembly of the trails and/or segments. This initial draft displaying all the data points can be converted to KML files for easy viewing by the client in Google Earth or other viewing platforms. After confirmation of the data points, trail lines are stitched together by ArcGIS and polished and refined by our GIS specialists.

data reports

The processed HETAP data is then used to generate Trail Access Information (TAI) reports for each assessed trail. The TAI summary provides management with the vital characteristics that indicate the objective levels of access for a given trail. In addition to general trail information such as name, length, and elevation gain and loss, the amount of typical and worst values are displayed for features such as grade, cross slope, and tread width. Obstacles and trail quality can also be displayed. This information may be analyzed in a variety of ways.

making data visual and accessible

Importing the vast amount of collected data into a GIS environment enables information to be isolated and visualized for clarity and analysis. While a single line may be used to represent a trail, HETAP provides the unique opportunity to include an infinite amount of trail data at any point within a trail. Thus, both station points and segments of a trail are loaded with detailed objective trail information. The quantitative trail data is then represented using both point and line symbols, using a variety of visual variables to illustrate the ranges of data. For example, critical information such as trail grade can be set to graduating colors depending on the steepness of a trail. Red or purple lines might indicate steep sections of the trail, while green or blue areas might represent more level portions.

The ability to immediately observe the location and degree of various trail features allows both trail users and land managers to gain an instant, clear, and objective understanding of the quality of any assessed trail. Areas of a trail out of compliance with accessibility guidelines or beyond the abilities of a certain individual can then be immediately identified and dealt with as desired.

step 4 display

how is the information displayed?

Objective trail data is useful to many users but, without proper communication and design, the information may not reach the intended audience. As mentioned above, Beneficial Designs offers a number of options for displaying the trail data to ensure that trail users are informed.

printed material

Any printed material can be produced in order to distribute Trail Access Information. Brochures, one-page trail summaries, and pocket foldout maps can  be developed for any trail system.

trail maps

When designing a trail map, whether to be displayed at a trailhead, online, or in printed material, Beneficial Design utilizes the collected data imported into ArcGIS in order to produce an accurate map along with Trail Access Information. Typically, Beneficial Designs uses a combination of satellite imagery and either contour lines or generated hillshade to clearly illustrate the trail system area. Lines representing trails are imported into the map, along with any relevant data, such as roads, features, rivers, and water sources. QR codes can also be incorporated into signage to link to more information about the trail or park. For more examples of previous map projects, take a look at some of our maps in our signage or projects pages.

Panel maps are typically posted at trailheads. Beneficial Designs orders Custom High-Pressure Laminate (CHPL) signage from iZone Imaging, designed to withstand outdoor wear and tear for many years. Both panel and mounting solutions can be found at the iZone Imaging website.

A full list of necessary elements to provide to Beneficial Designs in order to complete a trail map project is available upon request.

Trail Access Information (TAI) SignPosts

Beneficial Designs offers a number of templatesfor TAI Signposts. These trailhead signs are designed to be mounted either on a 4″x4″ wooden post or a steel post. All relevant trail data is included on these signs, providing the necessary trail information for every user that enters the trail. TAI Signposts are also printed on either eighth or quarter inch Custom High-Pressure Laminate (CHPL) from iZone Imaging. Stickers may also be printed and adhered to carbonite boards. For more info, visit the signage page. QR codes can also be incorporated into Signposts to link to a full panel map of the trail or park.

and more!

The prevalence of smart phones, tablets, and the internet makes instant access to data and maps the new norm. Using HETAP and ArcGIS, Beneficial Designs trail assessment will allow you to receive your data in a digital format that can be used in ArcGIS online, as well as KMZ files that can be imported into Google Earth. This allows easy access to trail name and location, typical grade, typical cross slope, elevation gain/loss and allowed uses. Online map formats allow users and management more flexibility and options to interact with trail data.

training workshops

equip your team to assess

The High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) is an automated version of the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP), utilizing both specialized software and hardware. A HETAP/UTAP training will not only teach you how to look for the issues in a trail system but also how to measure them using the system. Beneficial Designs provides the necessary training for management and staff to walk down a trail and catch all of the attributes that need to be addressed.

Training workshops generally last a minimum of 2 days and consist of both classroom and hands-on training. The first day is spent in the classroom explaining the various reasons you might be assessing your Outdoor Recreation features and trails, what you will be assessing, and the details of how to conduct assessments. The second day will be a hands-on field assessment of a nearby trail(s), followed by an in-class example of how to process the data into Trail Access Information. Lastly, the attendees have a chance to take the Trail Assessment Coordinator exam to become a Certified Trail Assessment Coordinator through Beneficial Designs and American Trails.

Let's roll!

Let's roll!