Correlates of Urban Trail Use: Differences between Recreational and Utilitarian Users

Transportation, parks, and health organizations are collaborating to develop multiuse trail networks that meet the needs of metropolitan residents for utilitarian travel, recreation, and fitness. This paper explores correlates of trail use in the tri-state, 10-county Cincinnati metropolitan region. Drawing on a systematic survey of users, the authors use ordinary probit and spatial models to explore the effects of socio-demographic characteristics, trip characteristics, attitudinal variables, and the built environment, including accessibility and connectivity, on recreational and utilitarian use. Most (89%) respondents report using trails for recreation; just 8.8% say they use trails for utilitarian purposes. Ordinary probit regression analyses show that recreational users are disproportionately female, likely to have incomes greater than $120,000, less likely to bike or walk to access trails, and travel longer distances on trails. Recreational users are more likely to report feeling safe on trails. Transit connectivity is inversely correlated with recreational trail use, but accessibility to bike-share is positively correlated. In contrast, utilitarian users were disproportionately male, significantly less likely to have incomes greater than $120,000, and significantly more likely to both take short trips on trails (< 2 miles) and to access trails by cycling or walking. They also report they would commute more by cycling if connectivity were improved. Spatial probit models indicate negative spatial relationships among recreational users, implying the lack of neighborhood effects on urban trail use. These findings underscore the importance of understanding the preferences of users when planning trail networks.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ANF10 Standing Committee on Pedestrians.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Chen, Na
    • Lindsey, Greg
    • Wang, Chih-Hao
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 21p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01698208
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-05510
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 7 2018 9:48AM