Public vs Private: How Does Funding for the USBRS Compare Internationally? 

May 9, 2016

The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is just one of many bicycle route networks in the world, all funded and managed differently. Here we compare aspects of the USBRS with two other well-known networks — Quebec’s La Route Verte and EuroVelo, specifically Switzerland’s routes in this European cycle route network.

The infographic below shows the differences between these three networks in the amount of funding from public vs. private sources, and the stories below elaborate on these comparisons. 



The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a people-powered project that couldn’t be realized without the support of those who want to see the vision of a cross-country bicycle transportation network come to life. The USBRS relies on an average annual budget of $128,000 — and 70% of that comes from individual donors. These funds go directly to national coordination of the planning, implementation, and promotion of the USBRS. 

Adventure Cycling’s Build it. Bike it. Be a Part of it. campaign raises money for the USBRS primarily from private funding sources (96%) including donors, sponsors, and grants. Only 4% comes from public funding provided by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the transportation non-profit that catalogs and numbers the system.

The continued development of the largest bicycle route network on the planet depends on the support of people like you and businesses like yours. Please donate today to help us reach 50,000 miles. 


The U.S.’s closest national bicycle route network is La Route Verte, “the green way,” in Quebec, Canada. Coordinated by Velo Quebec, this system is made up of about 40% trails and 60% roads/streets with bicycle accommodations. Velo Quebec also offers a hospitality program called Bienvenue Cyclists to certify bike-friendly accommodations along the routes.

Velo Quebec receives a contract to coordinate the network through the Quebec Ministry of Transportation, which committed to investing $88.5 million over 10 years. That funding was recently under threat, but by demonstrating the economic and tourism impacts, the provincial government is renewing their commitment to Velo Quebec and the continued maintenance and development of the network.

The provincial contract provides 100% public funding for La Route Verte. Bicycle route systems in other countries like Taiwan, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, are also coordinated through public support.


The EuroVelo bicycle route network is growing across Europe and requires coordination of its numbered routes across multiple countries. The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) is the international coordinator of the network, but relies on participating countries to provide public funding for bicycle facilities, route systems, and tourism promotion. Yet, they still need private funding from donors and supporters to support the international coordination they provide.

For example, Switzerland Mobility works on developing the EuroVelo in Switzerland, funded 60% through private partners such as sponsors, service providers, and end consumers, and 40% through public partners such as federal ministries. The funding breakdown is different in each country, but generally represents more of a mix of private/public funding than the USBRS.  

Help Grow the USBRS!

Your financial support truly matters. Please donate to the Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign to help complete the USBRS. On behalf of Adventure Cycling staff and the cyclists who use the system — thank you.

Graphic by Adventure Cycling Association | Top left photo by Ken McCaughey | Top right photo by Mac McCoy | American flag photo by Gerhard Illig Kommunikation | Map image from La Route Verte | Bottom photo by Neal Fisher. 


What better way to celebrate National Bike Month than supporting a campaign to create the largest bicycle route network in the world?



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