Is Cycling as an Active Transportation More than Environmentally Friendly? – Impacts of Bicycle Networks on Property Values in Madison, WI
Whether it is a simple bike path in a park or a complex network of trails and bike lanes, bicycling infrastructure positively impacts the economy. Networks promote active transportation which results in both public and personal economic benefits. The community benefits from reduced infrastructure and health costs, reduced vehicle emissions, and increased revenues to local businesses. Individuals benefit through a healthier lifestyle as well as reduced transportation and medical expenses. There is also an economic effect on property values. Opinions vary whether a bike trail will increase or decrease the value of properties near it. While opponents feel that privacy decreases and crime increases near a bike trail, most studies have shown that bike trails will increase property values. This study focuses on the effect bicycle trails have on property values in Madison, WI. Madison has a well-developed cycling network which acts as a corridor for transportation and recreation. While only 0.6% of workers in the U.S. commute to work by bicycle, the percentage is much higher in Madison at 5.3%. In this study, through the use of geographic information system (GIS), maps were created and statistical analyses were run to determine how assessed values of single family residential properties vary by the home’s proximity to the nearest off-street, paved bike trail. Many variables relating to the attributes of properties were also incorporated in this research. The results show a statistically significant effect of a home’s distance to the nearest bike trail on assessed value together with other property characteristics.
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