A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Physical Activity Using Bike/Pedestrian Trails

This article reports on a public health research study that featured a cost-benefit analysis of using bike/pedestrian trails in Lincoln, Nebraska. The trails were intended to reduce health care costs associated with inactivity. Data was obtained from the city’s 1998 Recreational Trails Census Report and a literature review. Per capita annual cost of using the trails was $209.28 ($59.28 for construction and maintenance, $150 for equipment and travel). Per capita annual direct medical benefit of using the trails was $546.41, resulting in a cost-benefit ratio of 2.94. The authors conclude that building trails is cost-effective from a public health perspective. They note that the most sensitive parameter affecting the cost-benefit ratios were equipment and travel costs; however, even for the highest cost, every $1 investment in trails resulted in a greater return in direct medical benefit. The current study also showed that building trails might fit in a wide range of budget situations experienced by different communities. Building trails is a cost-effective means for promoting physical activity at the community level.

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  • Authors:
    • Wang, Guijing
    • Macera, Caroline A
    • Scudder-Soucie, Barbara
    • Schmid, Tom
    • Pratt, Michael
    • Buchner, David
  • Publication Date: 2005-4


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 174-179
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01003963
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 7 2005 7:10AM