The Traverse Area Recreation & Transportation Trails (TART Trails) formed in 1998 when four individual trail groups united to create a stronger force for recreation and alternative transportation in northwest lower Michigan. Dedicated to enriching the Grand Traverse region, TART has built and maintains a network of 60+ miles of trails, bikeways, and pedestrian pathways in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.
Because these trails traverse both rural and urban environments, it’s necessary to consistently identify the paths, orient users, and provide both safety and community-related information at points along the way. Corbin Design developed a wayfinding signage system that is immediately visible in the environment, provides critical safety and trail condition information, and does so in a way that respects the context of the environment.
- Trailhead signage appears where people congregate and rest: at beaches, in small towns, and near landmarks.
- Each map helps orient users to their location relative to the entire pathway, as well as local destinations.
- The sign system allows for community events postings as well as information protected from the elements.
- Icons indicate trail conditions, amenities, information to be conveyed to first responders in case of emergency, and cautionary messages.
The trail system is entirely volunteer-based, so users both maintain and regulate the use and care of the trails. A group of icons developed exclusively for this program encourage safety and dictates courtesy for all users, from elite athletes to families with small children.
The trails connect users to a number of amenities, including wineries, grocery stores, picnic areas, and other recreational activities. Economic impact studies done by the Michigan Department of Transportation have shown that bicycling in Traverse City has a $5.5 million impact annually.