Trail Resources and Studies

The following is a short annotated bibliography of resources referenced in the development of the 2015 Naugatuck River Greenway Economic Impact Study Literature Review.  Please notify us with other suggested resources or links.  This page was last updated Feb. 2020.  This is not a comprehensive list and links may not be updated.


Trails and Economic Development Resources


CT and New England Trails and Greenway Organizations:


Searchable Databases of Greenway/Trail Economic Impact Studies:

Online searchable databases


New England/Connecticut Studies:

Nationwide Studies (selected):


Property Valuation:

The question of how greenways and multi-use trails effect adjacent property values has not been conclusively answered. Real estate and trails professionals take a different view than economists, who see increases in property values as a redistribution of wealth offset by decreases elsewhere. There is also a subjective component to consider, as not all homeowners consider a trail to be an asset.



Willingness-to-pay refers to the amount that an individual is willing to pay to use a non-market good such as a trail or greenway. Willingness-to-pay is an important variable in benefit-cost analysis as well as in determining consumer surplus, or net willingness-to-pay, which is the amount an individual is willing to pay minus the actual cost of use. If this surplus is spent locally, it can be considered an economic effect due to the trail or greenway.

  • Betz, C., Bergstrom, J. & J. Bowker. (2003).  A contingent trip model for estimating rail-trail demand. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 46(l). 79-96. Retrieved from
  • Brander, L. M., & Koetse, M. J. (2011). The value of urban open space: Meta-analyses of contingent valuation and hedonic pricing results. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(10), 2763–2773.
  • Brodnitzki, W. (1994). An economic evaluation of a proposed greenway using a contingent valuation method in a benefit/cost framework : a case study of the lower Housatonic Riverbelt. Thesis. Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut.
  • Doran, R., Hanss, D., & Larsen, S. (2015). Attitudes, efficacy beliefs, and willingness to pay for environmental protection when travelling. Tourism and Hospitality Research
  • Dumas, C., Herstine, J. & Whitehead, J. (2011). Joint estimation of revealed and stated preference trip and willingness-to-pay data to estimate the benefits and impacts of an Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway dredging and maintenance program. In J. Whitehead, T. Haab & J. Huang (Ed.), Preference data for environmental valuation: Combining Revealed and Stated Approaches. London, UK: Routledge.
  • Smith, V. K. (1997). Pricing What is Priceless: A Status Report on Non-Market Valuation of Environmental Resources.


Public Health Impacts of Trails:

This is a topic overlooked in many economic impact analyses of multi-use trails and greenways. The health benefits due to increased physical activity are considerable, but comparatively little literature exists examining the relationship between the two in regard to trail usage.

  • Partnership for the National Trails System: Nationwide database of articles on the health impacts of multi-use trails and greenways.
  • Price, A. E., Reed, J. A., & Muthukrishnan, S. (2012). Trail user demographics, physical activity behaviors, and perceptions of a newly constructed greenway trail. Journal of Community Health, 37(5), 949–956.


Resources for Trail Data Collection:

Surveys remain the principal method of data collection regarding trail use. The following resources can help in designing and implementing a trail user survey.

  • National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project– Nationwide effort that provides a consistent model of data collection and ongoing data for use by planners, governments, and bicycle and pedestrian professionals.
  • Rails to Trails Conservancy Trail User Survey Workbook – Trails organization’s methodology for development and implementation of trail user surveys.
  • Ryus, P. (2014). Guidebook on pedestrian and bicycle volume data collection. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.
  • Sun, Y.-Y., Wong, K.-F., & Lai, H.-C. (2010). Statistical properties and survey design of visitor spending using segmentation. Tourism Economics, 16(4), 807–832.
  • Troped, P. J., Whitcomb, H. A., Hutto, B., Reed, J. A., & Hooker, S. P. (2009). Reliability of a brief intercept survey for trail use behaviors. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 6(6), 775–780.


Economic Background Literature:

The following documents are helpful in defining the terms and concepts examined in most economic impact studies: