Office of Systems Planning

Bicycle and Pedestrian

Bicycling and walking are two of the oldest, simplest and most efficient forms of transportation available and are becoming increasingly more popular throughout the nation. Iowa has more than 800 miles of multi-use trails and off-road paths available for both recreational and transportation purposes. These facilities give users direct routes to recreational and nonrecreational destinations, serve commuter needs and provide an alternative means of travel.

The Office of Systems Planning is involved in preparing and publishing a Bicycle and Pedestrian System Plan that will guide the development of an integrated network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. This plan also includes a number of issues and concerns, along with possible initiatives to help resolve some of these issues. The initiatives focus on infrastructure; safety, education and enforcement; information and promotion; and coordination.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Guidance was approved by the Transportation Commission in May 1999 that directs the department to provide bicycle and pedestrian accommodations as part of state highway improvement projects when certain criteria are met.

Visit the Iowa DOT Iowa Bikes Web site.

order free bicycle safety materials
Free bicycle safety materials

The materials are available from the Iowa Department of Transportation at no cost to the public. These materials include a comprehensive five-lesson safety program, bicycle helmet video, bicycle rodeo guide, and a variety of items, such as magnets, spoke sliders, bookmarks, stickers, posters, reflective dots, safety tips for sharing the road, and etiquette for using Iowa’s off-road trails. The bicycle safety program is excellent for schools, police departments, parks and recreation departments, boys’ and girls’ clubs, boy and girl scouts, and anyone interested in promoting safe bicycling.
transportation map for bicyclists
Transportation Map for Bicyclists

The Iowa Transportation Map for Bicyclists shows hundreds of miles of multi use trails that pass through woodlands, prairies and parks – all highlighting the beauty of Iowa’s landscapes. In addition, traffic levels are indicated for all paved roadways so bicyclists can choose the road routes that match their level of riding experience to enhance safety.

Information highlighted on the back of the map includes trail maps of the state’s largest cities; a summary of Iowa bicycling laws; information about 50 multi use trails that are five miles or longer; cycling safety tips; and contacts, including Web sites, for additional information on cycling in Iowa.

In June 2008, some multi use trails across Iowa were significantly impacted by flooding. Please use the contact information provided in this map to verify the status of the multi use trails you are interested in riding.

Order the Transportation Map for Bicycles
Iowa Trails
Iowa Trails 2000

The Iowa Department of Transportation has updated the 1990 Iowa Statewide Recreational Trails Plan. The new document, Iowa Trails 2000, was developed to guide the future development of regional, statewide or national trail corridors of significance and was completed in the summer of 2000.

For a copy of the CD ROM, contact Milly Ortiz.
Phone: 515-233-7733

Iowa Mississippi River Trail
Iowa Mississippi River Trail

The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) is a national millennium trail extending from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico and includes nearly 300 miles in Iowa. During the 2001 Iowa legislative session, $50,000 was allocated to conduct a location study for the Iowa portion of the MRT. The Iowa Department of Transportation contracted with the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University to complete the study. An in-depth analysis was done to find the safest, most cost-effective route including both on and off-road trails.

View Iowa's Mississippi River Trail (MRT) Plan
Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee - UPDATED SEPT. 30, 2008
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee advises the Iowa DOT on bicycle and pedestrian related matters.

Draft bicycle and pedestrian plan concepts