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

A cost-benefit analysis of bike and pedestrian trails use in Lincoln, Nebraska to reduce health care costs associated with inactivity showed that annual trail use cost per capita was $209.28 ($59.28 for construction and maintenance, $150 for equipment and travel) and annual direct medical benefits of trail use was $564.41.
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  • A cost-benefit analysis of the use of bike and pedestrian trails use in Lincoln, Nebraska to reduce health care costs associated with inactivity was conducted using data from the city's 1998 Recreational Trails Census Report and other literature.
  • Annual trail use cost per capita was $209.28 ($59.28 for construction and maintenance, $150 for equipment and travel). Annual direct medical benefits of trail use were $564.41. So, for every $1 invested in trails there were $2.70 in medical benefits. An analysis of the different parameters that could affect the cost-benefit ratio found that equipment and travel costs were the factors most likely to affect the ratio. However, even for the highest costs, every $1 invested in trails resulted in a greater return in direct medical benefits. Cost-benefit ratios ranged between 1:1.65 and 1:13.40.

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Last modified by Nate Lotze

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