assess better

trail assessment tools and products

assess better

trail assessment tools and products

trail assessment methods

Our trail assessment tools are specially designed to enhance, simplify, and expedite the assessment process. Each of our assessment methods offers different tools to best meet the needs of the project. Beneficial Designs offers two main trail assessment methods in addition to our surface testing procedure. Feel free to read more about each process or scroll down to see all of our trail assessment products.

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the tools

Trail assessment requires the best tools for the job. Beneficial Designs has been developing and perfecting trail assessment tools since the early nineties, providing everything necessary for a complete, accurate, and efficient trail assessment. Please take a look at our products below.

beneficial tools

streamlining trail assessment

HETAP software on Getac laptop

HETAP software

High-Efficiency Trail Assessment Process

The High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) software will save you time and money. The software is designed to reduce data errors, expedite the assessment process, and semi-automate the calculation of Trail Access Information (TAI). Remember, TAI data is required to create trail signage that meets the ABA and USFS Accessibility Guidelines. HETAP enables a single assessor to collect precise trail and feature data at an average of one mile per hour. Data is automatically stored and can be sorted by the HETAP software to provide detailed summary trail reports for analysis.

Beneficial Designs can set up a weather resistant laptop and battery package that has the HETAP software loaded and ready to go for a complete HETAP system. Contact us for more information regarding the best laptops to use for outdoor assessment work.

HETAP cart

High-Efficiency Trail Assessment Process

The HETAP Cart is the perfect vehicle for wider trails and urban routes. Able to carry everything necessary for any assessment, this cart makes the entire process lightweight and fast.

HETAP wheel

High-Efficiency Trail Assessment Process

The state-of-the-art High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) wheel, designed for any trail, is equipped with automated GPS, distance, and slope sensors, along with a camera for features. Data saves directly into the database, minimizing time and effort.

Digital Tread Squared

The Digital Tread Squared is the next upgrade from the base model UTAP wheel. Equipped with two perpendicular SmartTool™ levels to measure grade and cross slope at the same time. The DT² eliminates the need to measure the grade and cross-slope separately at each station, thus streamlining the assessment process.

UTAP wheel

Universal Trail Assessment Process

The UTAP wheel is our base model digital measuring wheel. This roll-a-wheel has a steel frame with digital measurement that will stand up to harsh conditions. The digital wheel is water-proof and unaffected by the elements, making it a perfect choice for outdoor assessment.

A D A and A B A profile tool with measurement markings for each specified dimension

Knee & Toe Clearance Profile Tool ADA/ABA

According to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010) and the ABA Standards (2015), “where space beneath an element is included as part of clear floor or ground space or turning space, the space shall comply with [the guidelines listed in section] 306” for knee and toe clearance. Multiple measurements are required for a single space, which makes assessment difficult and time consuming. With our Knee & Toe Clearance Profile Tool, clearance measurements can be performed all at once without the need for bending over. The profile tool is designed for either ADA or ABA guidelines and streamlines knee and toe clearance assessment.

The profile tool is available in rigid or folding versions.

U S Forest Service profile tool with measurement markings for each specified dimension

Knee & Toe Clearance Profile Tool USFS

The US Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines (FSORAG) specify the minimum dimensions for clear knee and toe space for wheelchair seating. Multiple measurements are required for the assessment of a single wheelchair seating space, which makes assessment difficult and time consuming. With our Knee & Toe Clearance Profile Tool, clearance measurements can be performed all at once without the need for bending over. The profile tool is designed for FSORAG guidelines and streamlines knee and toe clearance assessment.

The profile tool is available in rigid or folding versions.

UTAP Tool Kit

Universal Trail Assessment Process

The UTAP Tool Kit provides all the tools necessary for an accurate assessment process, including a complete array of inexpensive and easy-to-use tools to facilitate trail assessments and keep your costs down. All items fit into a sturdy carrying bag, with plenty of room left for gear and granola bars. UTAP Tool Kit items can be purchased separately or as a kit. Each kit includes:

2 Suunto compasses to determine the trail direction
2 Suunto clinometers to measure the typical grade between two points of the trail;
1 SmartTool™ Level with SmartFeet to measure trail sections for maximum grade and maximum and typical cross slope in percent, degrees, or rise:run (displays digitally for ease of use and to improve accuracy);
1 Rolatape™ to measure trail length and the distance between stations, obstructions, and points of interest.
1 good old-fashioned tape measure to record tread and clearance widths and the magnitude of obstructions
1 set of pre-printed marking flags, master copies of the Trail Data Forms, and a permanent marker for writing on marking flags.

The Minimum Kit includes all of the UTAP Tool Kit items for one bundled price.
The Preferred Kit includes everything in the Minimum Kit, plus two clipboards, backpack, and a first aid kit.

SmartTool™ Level with SmartFeet

The SmartTool™ with SmartFeet is a waterproof, dustproof, and backlit digital level with added feet for a wider stance to reduce the possibility of tipping and imbalances. The SmartTool™ offers objective and detailed slope measurements in degrees, percent slope, and pitch to 0.1 degree of resolution and accuracy. Using a standard 9-volt battery, this inclinometer also features audio sound at both level and plumb.

The SmartFeet are precision-machined feet added to both ends of the 24-inch (60-cm) SmartTool™ level to prevent teetering on uneven surfaces. Teetering can cause significant measurement errors and is common on all types of surfaces. The position of the feet can be moved to the end of the SmartTool™ to measure a grade or cross-slope over a distance of up to 24 inches, representing the stance of a typical person moving across a path of travel, with or without the use of adaptive equipment. One of the two feet also provides a wider base and thus creates three points of contact to reduce tipping in the lateral direction.

A SmartStrap is also included, enabling easy measurement without the need to bend over.

SmartFeet (pair)

SmartFeet are precision-machined feet added to both ends of a 24-inch (60-cm) SmartTool™ level to prevent teetering on uneven surfaces. Teetering can cause significant measurement errors and is common on all types of surfaces. The position of the feet can be moved to the end of the SmartTool™ to measure a grade or cross-slope over a distance of up to 24 inches, representing the stance of a typical person moving across a path of travel, with or without the use of adaptive equipment. One of the two feet also provides a wider base and thus creates three points of contact to reduce tipping in the lateral direction.

SmartFeet are specifically designed for the SmartTool™ level.

clinometer

Universal Trail Assessment Process

Using the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) manual assessment methods, two clinometers can be used by two assessors to verify typical grade between the two operators. The typical grade of a trail segment provides information about the steepness of a trail between assessment stations. More instruction on how to use a clinometer for a trail assessment are included in the UTAP/HETAP Training Guide.

compass

Universal Trail Assessment Process

As an optional manual method of determining the direction of a trail from one station to the next using the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP), two compasses may be operated in a similar manner as the clinometer. More instruction on how to use a compass for a trail assessment in included in the UTAP/HETAP Training Guide.

station marker flag

Universal Trail Assessment Process

Trail Access Information (TAI) stations serve as reference points along the trail during an assessment. These stations identify points where the characteristics of the trail change or represent regular intervals if no apparent changes are evident. Station marker flags identify these stations when performing a manual assessment using the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP). Each flag contains information to discourage other from removing them during and an assessment and also provides a location for recording the current station distance. Station marker flags come bundled in groups of 100.

tape measure

Universal Trail Assessment Process

A tape measure is an essential tool for any trail assessment–whether automated or manual–providing dimensions of tread width, features, obstructions, and more. Though we include a tape measure in our UTAP package, any typical tape measure is sufficient.

cross slope illustration

UTAP/HETAP training guide

The UTAP/HETAP training guide provides all of the detailed instructions needed to use the UTAP tools to practice and learn the Universal Trail Assessment Process. It also contains the information needed to perform the High Efficiency Assessment Process. The guide is fully illustrated with over 100 images and illustrations. The guide contains all the information needed to pass the UTAP/HETAP Certification exam which is required as part of getting certified by Beneficial Designs and American trails as a certified trail assessment coordinator.

trail assessment methods

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