West of Atlanta, Georgia, the Silver Comet Trail plans to double its 61 miles. This is expected to bring more than 500,000 new tourist visits and $30 million in new spending to the area, while also generating substantial new tax revenues for the state through taxes on sales, income, and newly developed residential properties near the trail.
One of the primary concerns about data from GPS tracking apps is that the users tend to be more frequent recreators or commuters and therefore do not accurately represent the actual population. This paper shows that there is a strong correlation between the reported share of people in a neighborhood commuting by active transportation between the American Community Survey (a nationally representative survey) and Strava (a GPS tracking app).
In northwest Arkansas, a substantial investment in paved and unpaved trails has contributed substantially to the region’s well-being (measured in improved health) and economic performance (measured in visitor spending and employee retention). Evidenced by residents’ interest in living close to trails and willingness to pay more for homes near trails, cycling is an essential part of life in this region.
An extensive motorized trail system in rural southwest Virginia has brought substantial new spending to the community, helping to diversify the area’s traditionally coal-based economy. The estimated economic impact is less than the predicted impacts before the system was built, but the impacts nonetheless exceed state and local investments.
Identify neighborhoods where overlapping wildfire threats and socioeconomic vulnerabilities may make people disproportionately susceptible to wildfire.
This interactive and background materials show visits, spending, and the number of jobs created in gateway communities for every National Park Service unit.
In Miami-Dade County, Florida, an afterschool, park-based program is effective in improving physical fitness among a sample of 52 children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Afterschool programs may be an effective strategy to increase physical activity among disabled children, who tend to be less physically active than their non-disabled peers.
In Miami-Dade County, Florida, researchers evaluated the structure of a pilot project connecting children, families, and their pediatricians to a park-based afterschool program. This study describes important factors encouraging ongoing support from participating families and pediatricians, as well as ways to measure the effectiveness of prescription parks programs.
A daily afterschool program in Miami-Dade County, Florida observes significant decreases in body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure between the beginning and end of the school year. Findings from this research suggest consistent, long-term afterschool programs can effectively reduce childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease risk.
Lack of access to a vehicle, poverty, and disabilities, can make evacuation difficult or impossible for some households.
The wildfires that burned the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park devastated nearby communities and underscore the need to reduce the risks and costs of future catastrophic events.
In Durham, North Carolina, a bicycle-pedestrian bridge was built to connect two previously separate segments of a regional trail, leading to a 133 percent increase in trail use after its construction. This new connection allows the researchers to demonstrate a substantial increase in physical activity attributable to the bridge, with significant public health benefits for trail users.
Although visitor spending per day along the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail in western Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina is relatively low, the large number of visitors generates substantial economic impact. However, much of this spending is likely due to the attraction of specific historic sites and not the trail, because relatively few visitors were aware that the historic sites are connected to a larger regional trail.
Two factors most strongly predicted racers’ total spending at an endurance mountain bike race in North Carolina: whether they visited other tourist attractions during their trip and how many nights they stayed. Having more people in the racer’s party was also associated with higher total spending, while income had almost no effect on spending.
This study found that the North Central Rail Trail is used heavily by residents who lack safe walking and cycling alternatives on local roadways; trail use grew 42 percent per year during the first decade it was open. Both residents and nearby property owners overwhelmingly found the trail a good investment of public funds and would support state-funded trails built elsewhere in the state.
This study found that the Coastal Georgia Greenway has the potential to generate substantial economic impact along its route. Using findings from studies on a range of existing rail-trail projects, the study projects use and economic impact for the year the trail is constructed as well as five years later, after more people learn about the trail.
This study found that in Morgantown, West Virginia, one-quarter of trail users had not been active before the trail was built, and who report large increases in physical activity since they began using the trail. For most of these newly-active residents, the trail was the only place where they exercised and they report the trail’s safety, paved and flat terrain, and convenience as the most important considerations in deciding to use the trail.
This study found that the water trail along the New River Trail in western Virginia is used frequently by locals and non-locals, and is a relatively large source of revenue for local businesses. The trail and communities near the trail currently provide the amenities that trail users find most important, although there may be unmet demand for outdoor stores and restaurants, which could increase the trail’s economic impact.
This study found that development of a trail and associated infrastructure has contributed to the revitalization of downtown Winter Garden, Florida. In this county-wide trail system, the trails with the most access points to businesses had the greatest measurable economic impact, but the complement of trails throughout Orange County – some urban and others natural and quiet – contribute to an appealing regional trail system.
This study on the Virginia Creeper Rail Trail in Virginia is unique in that it estimates both economic impacts, measured as local spending by tourists, and economic benefits, measured as value to individual users. This paints a more complete picture of the total value of a trail than considering only one of these economic measures, an approach that may be particularly helpful when prioritizing the use of government funds.