Custis Trail Needs Assessment



The Study launched in partnership with the Commonwealth’s Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and Toole Design Group in September of 2023. The study team is currently reviewing existing infrastructure conditions of the Custis Trail, as well as collecting data and inventorying assets..

 About the Project

Staff from DES Transportation and the Department of Parks & Recreation are assessing the Custis Trail and its associated trailheads from its terminus at the intersection with the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail near the western edge of the County all the way to its terminus with the Mount Vernon Trail in Rosslyn, adjacent to the Key Bridge. This review will document the existing conditions of the trail and its access points, identify maintenance and improvement opportunities, and look for opportunities for future investment in the trail that delivers on county goals for park access, recreation, and multimodal transportation.

The results of the Study will inform where the County should invest in more detailed feasibility study, scoping, and design for future capital projects through the County's Capital Improvement Plan. The assessment will be shared publicly and among County departments and other interested stakeholders to support ongoing coordination on improving the trail network, addressing infrastructure needs, and supporting safe and convenient multimodal trips throughout the County and region.

Project Goals

  • Examine and document the current state of the Custis Trail.
  • Identify opportunities for improvements to the Custis Trail and its connections to surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Develop recommendations for future investment in the Custis Trail that deliver on the County's goals for park access, recreation, and multimodal transportation.

Project Basis

  • The Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan informs the scope of this Study with the ultimate intention to renovate sections of the Custis Trail, widen trail surfaces to 12-feet in width where feasible, enhance trail markings and wayfinding, and to repair/replace existing lighting.

  • The 2023 Langston Boulevard Area Plan provides several recommendations to improve access points to the Custis Trail, to conduct a corridor study of Langston Boulevard and adjacent trail segments from I-66 to Veitch Street, as well as to seek opportunities to widen the Trail.

  • The 2012 VDOT I-66 Multimodal Study: Inside the Beltway initiative recommended widening of the Trail to 12-feet where feasible and to improve pavement conditions and accessibility.

  • The 2019 Public Spaces Master Plan envisions leveraging the Custis Trail as part of a future "Inner Loop" and "Outer Loop" that would draw even more trail users, particularly from northern Arlington County, which currently have limited trail facilities.

  • The Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s 2022 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the National Capital Region outlines Custis Trail renovations as part of its 2045 Network Projects List.

About The Process

There has been one pilot project and two capital project public engagement opportunities to share input on the corridor and subsequent concept design. The details of all public engagement opportunities for this project are shared here. 

Winter 2023/2024 – Existing Conditions Analysis

  • Conduct site visits and data collection
  • Develop infrastructure inventory
  • Conduct public engagement on existing conditions
  • Draft Existing Conditions Report

Spring 2024 – Preliminary Infrastructure Recommendations and Draft Report

  • Develop inventory of issues and opportunities
  • Identify preliminary priority improvements
  • Draft the study document

Summer 2024 – Final Report

  • Finalize and release study document
  • Present study findings



The study is funded with a technical support grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation's Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment and their Growth & Accessibility Planning (GAP) Technical Assistance Program.