Innovation Public Safety

New wayfinding signs offer increased points of safety on local trails 

A woman in a pink shirt and maroon pants stands with her blue mountain bike next to a blue and white sign on a wood stake reads "Your 911 location is Entry 2."

New signs installed at the New Territory bike trails will now help public safety officials better locate and find their way to trail users during emergencies.  

Bike trails around Sugar Land have become a popular attraction for area cyclists, but an uptick in accidents among those not familiar with the trail made it difficult to pinpoint the locations of injured cyclists when Sugar Land Fire-EMS was dispatched to the scene. 

If someone were to get injured on the New Territory bike trail, it would take an average of 20 minutes for first responders to find and access the patient due to difficulty in locating them – over double the city average. 

In an effort to improve response times, Sugar Land’s Data & Innovation team partnered with Sugar Land Fire-EMS to brainstorm ways to fix the issue. They ultimately decided wayfinding signs were the best course of action.  

In the past, first responders would have to rely on ATVs or standard rescue vehicles that were often too large to navigate the tight trails. Now, the wayfinding signs, along with electronic bikes built for rugged trails and portable stretchers, make it easier for paramedics and EMTs to maneuver the trails and get to the injured cyclists.  

“Timing is crucial in bike accidents,” Fire-EMS Assistant Chief James Serrano said. “We are constantly seeking ways to enhance our response, and these bikes and stretchers will ensure everyone’s safety on the trails.” 

The wayfinding signs, which are strategically placed along the trails, help bikers identify their positions relative to a mapped system created by Sugar Land’s GIS Division, facilitating faster rescues. Each sign has a unique number and name that injured users can use to pinpoint their location on the trail.

Assistant Director of Data and Innovation Rachel Owens marks trees to designate locations during the installation of new wayfinding signs on the New Territory trail.

The New Territory trail was chosen for primary installation due to the large number of incidents called in, but City staff hopes to install similar wayfinding signs on other Sugar Land trails.  

City staff, along with Sugar Land’s Fire-EMS Battalion Chief Curtis Legrotte, worked closely with the New Territory HOA and the Fort Bend Mountain Bike Association to bring this project to life and show how a little bit of innovation can lead to safer communities. 

“With our city’s 35 miles of trails and their growing popularity, these measures create a safer environment and enhance the experience for visitors and residents,” Sugar Land Fire-EMS Chief Doug Boeker said.  

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