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City Mouse, Country Mouse: How Trail Users Differ

RTC's Northeast Regional Office is completing work on a report of trail users and economic impact analysis for the Schuylkill River Trail in southeast Pennsylvania. The trail runs from downtown Philadelphia, connecting to commuter transit lines and continuing northwest toward Valley Forge National Historic Park and farther into suburban and rural areas. Covering a total of 56 miles, the trail is currently broken into three sections of open pathway.

In order to get a clear picture of the trail users' priorities, we decided that separating the survey respondents into metropolitan area users and suburban/rural users would be most helpful for the trail management.

The categories that showed substantive differences between metropolitan users and suburban users are:

  1. Age group: The majority of users in the metropolitan section are younger than 46. In the suburban section, the majority are older than 46.
  2. Primary activity: Though cycling is the primary activity on both sections of trail, nearly twice as many people are jogging on the metropolitan section than on the suburban section.
  3. Economic impact: The metropolitan users reported spending an average of $10.04 per trail visit, while the suburban trail users spent an average of $8.07.

Fifty percent of users on the Schuylkill River Trail spend an average of $9.07 per visit to the trail. That's a total of $3,628,000 local economic impact from expenditures on consumable products such as snacks, water or meals.

The report was developed for the Schuylkill River Greenway Association and the Schuylkill River Trail Council through funding provided by the William Penn Foundation. Learn more about the survey and read a final report on survey results.

Photo of Schuylkill River Trail by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (original post edited 1/28/2010). Post edited again 03/03/2010 to include link to final report.

Posted Thu, Jan 28 2010 4:19 PM by Patricia Tomes (RTC)

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