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Greenways Providing Positive Economic Benefits to North Carolina

Raleigh - Greenways provide several positive economic benefits such as increased sales for local businesses, according to a new study sponsored by the N.C. Department of Transportation.

“This study provides evidence of the economic benefits of a collaborative multi-modal transportation system, further making the case for bicycling and pedestrian facilities,” says Julie White, NCDOT Deputy Secretary for Multi-modal Transportation. “There’s been a lot of commentary on this idea, but we now have solid, North Carolina-specific data to back it up.”

Findings from the project revealed that greenways in North Carolina provide substantial economic benefits, including:

  • Business and Employee Benefits: $19.4 million in total estimated revenue for local businesses along the four studied greenways
  • Retail Sales Tax Benefits: $684,000 in total estimated sales tax revenue made from businesses along the greenways, which goes back to local governments
  • Trail Construction Benefits: $48.7 million in total estimated business revenue from construction of the studied greenways
  • Health, Congestion and Pollution Benefits: $25.7 million in total estimated savings due to more physical activity, less pollution and fewer traffic injuries from use of the four greenways

The Institute for Transportation Research and Education and Alta Planning + Design researched four greenways, also known as shared use paths, to develop and test a way to measure the trails’ economic impact. The American Tobacco Trail (Durham), Brevard Greenway (Brevard), Duck Trail (Duck) and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway (Charlotte) were evaluated.

The full research report and summary brochure are available here. An infographic is available for download here.

For each trail, data was collected through surveys with people on the trail and counts of users along each greenway on one weekday and one weekend day during daylight hours. The project began in March 2015 and was completed in February 2018.

The Institute for Transportation Research and Education conducts surface and air transportation research, training, and technical support activities for municipal, state, federal, and international clients in order to address critical transportation issues. 

Alta Planning + Design is North America’s leading multi-modal transportation firm that specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of bicycle, pedestrian, greenway, park, and trail corridors and systems. 


7/10/2018 7:34 AM