Understanding preferences for walking attributes
Formally developed walking routes can have substantial benefits for individuals as a recreational resource and can be a tool for promoting economic development in marginal rural areas. Moreover, the provision of walking trails can facilitate individuals in meeting health related guidelines for physical activity. The overall aim of this paper is to examine respondents’ attitudes towards the formal development and maintenance of walking trails. Analysis of individuals’ attitudes towards walking related activities can provide information from which policymakers can ascertain if policy measures in relation to the provision of walking trails and public access to farmland are in line with citizens’ views and needs. A principal component factor analysis was performed on respondent’s importance ratings of various walking attributes. Factor scores were then used in a binary logit model formulated to ascertain the major influences on individuals demand for walking trail facilities (such as a route map, information point, car parking etc.). Results suggest that certain cohorts of the population have a much higher demand for the provision of various trail facilities on walking routes. The study also highlighted how the importance respondents place on the provision of trail facilities as well as a variety of background variables play a significant role in influencing respondents’ willingness to make a financial contribution towards the formal development and maintenance of walking trails.
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