County of Marin - News Releases - LIDAR and Trail Speeds

For Immediate Release
January 17, 2017

Parks Report Coming on Trail User Speeds

Findings from pilot program to be shared with commission and public January 19

San Rafael, CA – After completing a pilot program designed to measure speeds on its unpaved trails and roads, Marin County Parks will release key findings about the safety effort Thursday, January 19, before the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission.

Rangers are always eager to speak to parks visitors about safety on open space trails.Rangers are always eager to speak to parks visitors about safety on open space trails.
Parks implemented the laser technology of LIDAR, similar to radar, to record speeds of people using fire roads and trails in its open space preserves last spring. Visitor services staff, including Parks rangers and Marin County Sheriff’s deputies, measured speeds in a few areas where there were the most complaints about unsafe conditions related to speed.

At the January 19 meeting, staff will present a synopsis of findings from the three-month pilot, which observed the speeds of all trail users. Staff will go over where LIDAR was used, highlights of the data collection, average speeds recorded, why the pilot program was launched and what happens next.

Marin County Open Space District land use regulations mandate a 15 mph speed limit on its roads and trails and 5 mph when passing and around blind corners. Previously, rangers did not have a tool to measure speeds. Although injury collisions between open space users are extremely rare, uneasiness about safety exists with some preserve visitors.

“The pilot program not only allowed rangers and deputies the opportunity to test LIDAR technology as a tool and become more familiar with its operation, it also provided them opportunities to communicate directly in-the-field with preserve visitors to discuss safety, speed, etiquette and interactions with others,” said Ari Golan, Acting Parks and Open Space Superintendent. 

The Parks and Open Space Commission meeting starts at 3 p.m. January 19. Commission meetings are webcast and archived. Share feedback about the program at


Ari Golan
Parks and Open Space Superintendent
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6387
Email: Ari Golan