What is a 1% grade?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

A 1% grade refers to an incline or slope that increases by 1 unit for every 100 units of distance. This can be measured in various units such as degrees, percentage, or inches per foot. In terms of degrees, a 1% grade is approximately equal to 0.57 degrees. This means that for every 100 units of horizontal distance traveled, there is a vertical increase of 1 unit.

To put it in simpler terms, imagine walking or driving along a road that has a 1% grade. For every 100 meters you travel horizontally, you would ascend or descend 1 meter vertically. This gradual increase or decrease in elevation over a given distance is what defines a 1% grade.

To further illustrate, let’s consider the measurement in inches per foot. A 1% grade is equivalent to 1 inch of rise or fall for every 100 inches of horizontal distance. This means that if you were to walk or drive along a road that has a 1% grade, for every 100 feet you cover horizontally, there would be a rise or fall of 1 inch vertically.

It’s important to note that a 1% grade is relatively mild and is often encountered in everyday situations. Many roads, bike paths, and walking trails have inclines or declines that fall within this range. While it may not be particularly steep or challenging, it can still impact your movement and exertion, especially when traveling longer distances.

In my personal experience, I have encountered 1% grades while hiking in national parks and walking along urban streets. These gradual inclines or declines added a subtle change in the terrain, requiring slightly more effort when ascending and providing a slight relief when descending. It’s interesting to observe how even a small change in elevation can affect our perception of the landscape and our physical exertion.

To summarize, a 1% grade represents a gentle incline or decline that increases or decreases by 1 unit for every 100 units of horizontal distance. Whether measured in degrees, percentage, or inches per foot, a 1% grade is a relatively mild slope that can be encountered in various environments.