Development, Reliability, and Validity of an Urban Trail Use Survey

An evaluation of the psychometric characteristics of the Research on Urban Trail Environments (ROUTES) Trail Use Questionnaire found that the questionnaire is a reliable and valid measure of trail use and physical activity.

The article discusses two studies: 1) test-retest reliability of the ROUTES questionnaire in a convenience sample in Los Angeles, and 2) relationships between trail use and physical activity in adults living within one mile of urban trails in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. Participants in Study 1 received the ROUTES questionnaire by mail, and again two weeks later. Participants in Study 2 completed the ROUTES questionnaire and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and wore an ActiGraph activity monitor for seven days.

Test-retest statistics were acceptable, indicating reliability. Correlations between trail use with self-reported physical activity and activity monitor results, and significant differences between trail users and nonusers in physical activity levels, supported the questionnaire's validity.

Study 1 was limited by changes in participant physical activity between taking the two surveys, while Study 2 was limited by a non-representative sample in two of the three cities studied. Further studies of trail use could include relationships between trail use and other factors that the ROUTES questionnaire measures, such as trail access.