In addition to providing a safe place for people to enjoy recreational activities, trails often function as viable transportation corridors. Trails can be a crucial element to a seamless urban or regional multi-modal transportation system.
Many areas of the country incorporate trails and similar facilities into their transit plans, relying upon trail facilties to "feed" people in to and out of transit stations in a safe and efficient manner. The ability to avoid congested streets and highways, and travel through natural areas on foot or by non-motorized means, is a large factor in a community's livability.
Serving as transportation corridors, trails encourage pedestrian and bicycle communting as an alternative to automobile commuting, thus reducing traffic and congestion on roads, and reducing fuel consumption and its associated pollution.
Again, there is a health benefit in choosing this mode of transportation. Safety is another community benefit where designated pedestrain and bicycle paths provide an opportunity to separate human-powered commuters from automobiles.