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The Benefits and ROI of Greenway and Trail Projects - American City & County

No question—trails, greenways, bike paths, nature walkways and similar infrastructure projects offer a good return on investment, says Chris Rhie, urban planner and associate principal at Buro Happold, Los Angeles. The firm is a multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, and a global practice of consulting engineers and advisers that offers its clients expertise in structural engineering, sustainability, lighting design, mobility and other areas.

“Yes, absolutely these projects offer positive return on investment (ROI), not only for the fiscal health of cities and counties, but also for the health and well-being of their residents, as well as the biodiversity of their flora and fauna,” Rhie tells American City & County. He says the key to maximizing these fiscal, social and environmental returns is embracing a multi-benefit approach to infrastructure investments.

He points to several research reports that link strong ROI to these kinds of projects. An analysis of the Northern Central Rail Trail in Maryland finds that the state received $303,000 per year in trail-related tax income while the trail’s management and maintenance costs were $192,000 per year.

“Trails and greenways can boost property values, local spending at businesses, influence employer location choices, reduce health care costs and revitalize depressed areas. They add transportation options and low-cost recreation. They also tend to increase tax revenues,” Rhie concludes.

By Michael Keating



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