Assessing the effects of access policies on travel mode choices in an Alpine tourist destination

Alternative Transportation Systems (ATS) can contribute to an overall reduction of visitation-related impacts in natural areas if their design and management are informed by a clear understanding of the factors influencing visitors’ mode choice. This is particularly relevant in areas served by multiple alternative transportation options at different locations because mode choices in this case can largely modify visitation patterns. This study investigated mode choices in a popular hiking area of the Dolomites (Italian Alps) that is reachable by car, bus, and lifts (i.e. cable car and chairlift). A stated preference survey was used to elicit visitor sensitivities to a series of management and experiential conditions, while simulation was applied to predict mode choice as a consequence of various access policies. While indicating lift as the most preferred transportation option, results suggest the existence of two main kinds of visitor: one preferring road-accessible trailheads and another preferring lift-accessible trailheads. These two kinds seem to reflect a traditional view (i.e., very sensitive to fares, road closures, and overcrowding) and a more modern one (i.e., moderately sensitive to lift fares, relatively insensitive to crowding), respectively. Simulations performed for both groups led to four management principles: road traffic is not reduced significantly without disincentives for car use; overly cheap lift fares are counterproductive; fare-frequency trade-off is key to ensure adequate bus ridership within both groups; and road closures may be comprehensively more effective than road tolls. The findings of this study may support managers and administrators in setting up access policies that better preserve natural resources and visitors’ recreational experience.


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  • Accession Number: 01538538
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 9 2014 10:25AM