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Communities in Motion 2040 2.0: Active Transportation

Rails with Trails

Currently there are an estimated 2,147 open Rail-Trails in the US, for a total of 24,129 miles. Within Idaho, 24 Rail-Trails exist, covering 462 miles. However, few are in southwest Idaho.

Through the COMPASS Rails with Trail Workgroup, planners, elected officials, business owners, active transportation advocates, police officers, health professionals, and other members of the community are exploring the potential of a dedicated, off-street, low-stress, bicycle and pedestrian route along the Union Pacific Boise spur line (the Boise Cutoff).

The 35-mile alignment of the Boise Cutoff has over 140,000 residents within one mile of the route and provides a direct link from downtown Nampa, through downtown Meridian, to the Boise Depot and beyond.




In addition to connecting the Treasure Valley, this Rails with Trail route encourages a healthy community, provides transportation choices for local residents, promotes safety by limiting interactions with vehicular traffic, and contributes to economic development and tourism along the line. For example, a 2017 Outdoor Industry Foundation study found that “Active Outdoor Recreation” contributes $887 billion in consumer spending annually, supports 7.6 million jobs, and generates $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue.

The Rails with Trails Feasibility and Probable Cost Study was completed in September 2019 to estimate cost of trail development along the Boise Cutoff rail corridor, and identify barriers associated with trail development. This will prepare the region to work with Union Pacific on a preferred right of way alignment, finalize the design, and secure funding.

Map (Coming soon!)

How does active transportation help fulfill Communities in Motion goals? Learn more here.

For more information on Rails with Trails in the Treasure Valley, contact Rachel Haukkala at 208/475-2230 or rhaukkala@compassidaho.org.