U.S. Bicycle Route System: Top 10 Achievements in 2015

January 6, 2016

  1. Over 10,000 miles of routes! The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) hit a major milestone in 2015 with 11,053 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes now in the network and over 3,000 miles designated this year.

  2. Almost half the states in the U.S. have at least one designated route. Twenty-three states can boast that they have one or more U.S. Bicycle Route, including:  Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

    Cyclists can put down their TransAmerica Trail maps and follow the signs across Missouri.


  3. Follow the signs! Five states have signed 1,617 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes, including USBR 1 in Maine and Virginia (also signed as the East Coast Greenway), USBR 20 and parts of USBR 35 in Michigan, and USBR 76 in Missouri and Virginia. In addition, all of Minnesota’s USBR 45 is signed as the Mississippi River Trail. Other states that are working on sign plans include USBR 76 in Kentucky, USBR 21 in Tennessee, USBR 10 in Washington, and USBR 50 in Ohio.

    Champe Burnely of the Virginia Bicycling Federation presents to the National Park Service.


  4. More people know about the USBRS than ever before. There are 45,278 followers on its Facebook page, facebook.com/usbrs/, and 3,576 followers on Twitter: @USBicycleRoutes. In addition, Adventure Cycling members, bike enthusiasts and advocates, trail developers, departments of transportation staff, and community leaders are coordinating efforts to plan, designate, and sign U.S. Bicycle Routes, demonstrating that they want to bring U.S. Bicycle Routes and the economic, health, and transportation benefits through their communities.


  5. More supporters than ever. The Build it. Bike it. Be a Part of It. annual fundraising campaign held each May, raised $140,879 through eight sponsors and almost a thousand donor contributions, 995 to be exact, that will support the continuing development and coordination of U.S. Bicycle Route designations.

    Members of the Pend Oreille Pedalers bike club in Idaho celebrate designation of USBR 10.


  6. West is Best? After many years of designations only in midwestern and eastern states, we now have Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and Washington with designated U.S. Bicycle Routes — big progress for big western states.

    USBR 7, a.k.a. the Western New England Greenway, includes this amazing causeway on Lake Champlain.


  7. Greenways and Trails make AWESOME U.S. Bicycle Routes. Yes, this year we welcomed the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia and the Western New England Greenway in Vermont to the U.S. Bicycle Route System. The Silver Comet is a 61-mile trail outside of Atlanta and the Western New England Greenway includes several trails: the Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail and the Island Line Rail Trail with a causeway on Lake Champlain. To date, there are 1,038 miles of trails in this system.

    Cyclists enjoying a ride on the Capitol Limited from Cumberland, MD.


  8. Roll-on train service is a boon to bike travel. We are thrilled that now anyone riding Maryland’s USBR 50, a.k.a. the C&O Canal Towpath, can board their bike on Amtrak at any stop along the trail. 

    Cyclists enjoy USBR 90 outside Tucson.


  9. USBRS Specific Projects. This year, we worked with a planning consultant and the Arizona Department of Transportation on the development of all U.S. Bicycle Routes in the state. The result, USBR 90 following portions of the Southern Tier, was designated in 2015 and more will follow in the near future. We also hired Toole Design Group to conduct a survey of states with designated routes to assess how they are mapping, signing, and promoting the routes. The report will be released in 2016, so stay tuned.

  10. Bicycle Plans & U.S Bicycle Routes. State and local bike plans can help initiate USBRS development. We are assisting with two separate U.S. Bicycle Route projects in Wisconsin, helping them complete USBR 30, and assisting Toole Design Group on the Wisconsin bike and trail plan, which will be released by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in 2016. The plan will highlight routes for several U.S. Bicycle Routes across the state. In addition, we provided consultation services to Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley active transportation and tourism plan, helping identify USBR 55 through Cameron County

Missouri's USBR 76 photo by Mac McCoy | NPS photo by Saara Snow | Build it. Bike it. Be a Part of It photo of USBR 50 in Dayton, OH by Jordan Hart | Idaho's USBR 10 photo by Jim Mellen | Vermont's USBR 7 and Lake Champlain causeway photo by Terry Burke | Amtrak's Capitol Limited photo by Susan Scarpelli | Arizona's USBR 90 photo by Matt Zoll


BUILDING THE U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE SYSTEM is posted by Ginny Sullivan and  Saara Snow of the Travel Initiatives Department and focuses on news related to the  emerging U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). The USBRS project is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by a task force under the auspices of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Members of the task force include officials and staff from state DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration, and nonprofits like the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Mississippi River Trail, Inc.


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