FUNDING SOURCE: Mary Black Foundation, 2005-2009


The USC PRC evaluated the impact of a two-mile rail-trail segment near downtown Spartanburg, SC on trail use, traffic speeds, commercial and residential property values adjacent to the segment, and retail sales of businesses located along the segment.  Brief (5-10 minutes) intercept interviews of trail users were conducted to discover how often they use the trail, why they use the trail (e.g., recreation, exercise, pleasure, or commuting), what type of activity they do on the trail (e.g., walking, biking, rollerblading, etc.), where they get on the trail, and how they rate the trail on safety, beauty and usefulness. Over the 5-year study period, 125-200 trail users over age 18 years were interviewed.  The data for other outcomes were gathered from existing databases managed by other agencies (for example, Dept. of Transportation, Board of Realtors).

The information gained helped to determine the economic impact a trail can have when constructed in an urban area.  Trail user information is helpful in understanding how the trail contributes to a person’s overall physical activity level.  Trail user information will help the community of agencies develop more effective trail awareness and promotion activities to encourage more persons to use the trail.


Hooker SP, Reed JA, Arant AE, Price AE (2007). Comparing demographic features of trail-users obtained via direct observation with current census data. American Public Health Association annual meeting; November; Washington, DC.

Hooker SP, Reed JA, Arant C-A, Price AE (2007). Evaluating the Impact of an Urban Rail/Trail Conversion Project: Comparing Demographic Characteristics of Rail/Trail Users with Census Data of Adjacent Neighborhoods. International Walk21 Conference; October; Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Reed JA, Hooker SP, Arant C-A, Price AE (2007). Analyzing contextual elements impacting the physical activity levels of trail users on a two-mile rail/trail conversion by direct observation. American Public Health Association annual meeting; November; Washington, DC.