A tale of three greenway trails: user perceptions related to quality of life Academic Article uri icon


  • Urban sprawl and renewed concern for the environment have helped create new policies and initiatives designed to enhance community quality of life. Among these are transportation enhancements mandated in ISTEA and TEA21. Funding through transportation enhancements has helped to spur the designation and development of greenway trails with the intent of fostering alternative transportation and generally making cities more livable. This paper presents research conducted on three greenway trails in Texas. The research was based on the human ecosystem concept and was intended to determine if and how such greenway facilities were contributing to quality of life and how people might perceive such contributions based on the way they used the trail (e.g. for transportation or recreation). Results indicated that most people used greenway trails for recreation but that trails differed in user types and activities based on location and policy, users felt that these urban greenway trails were contributing most to community quality of life through resident health/fitness, the natural areas they provide, better land use and resident pride. They felt that they contributed least to diversifying industry, business development and access to shopping areas or public transportation. Those who used trails for transportation scored trails as contributing more toward reducing pollution, reducing transportation costs and providing better access to work than did those who used trails only for recreation. Implications for understanding use and users in the designation, design and development of urban greenway trails are discussed. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Shafer, C. S., Lee, B. K., & Turner, S.

citation count

  • 183

complete list of authors

  • Shafer, CS||Lee, BK||Turner, S

publication date

  • July 2000