The value of public rights of way: A choice experiment in Bedfordshire, England

J. Morris, S. Colombo, A. Angus, K. Stacey, D. Parsons, M. Brawn, N. Hanley

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    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Public rights of way (PROW) in England provide a range of social and economic benefits by allowing people to follow prescribed routes across land belonging to others. In urban areas they provide networks of mobility and interaction, helping to reduce reliance on motorised transport. In the rural context they define access to the countryside, critically linked to recreation and tourism, as well as providing mobility networks for local residents. In England, as in many other countries, local government authorities (LGAs) have statutory responsibility for maintaining PROW, committing considerable taxpayer funds for this purpose. LGAs are under increasing pressure, however, to demonstrate that funds committed to PROW give good value for money in terms of the outcomes obtained. In this context, this study set out to determine preferences and willingness to pay for different standards of provision of PROW. The choice experiment technique was used in a face-to-face survey of 327 citizens in the Bedfordshire LGA area, England. Analysis confirmed the importance of PROW attributes such as physical surface conditions, signage and connectivity, with the importance of these varying amongst different users. Implicit prices were derived that showed willingness to pay by households through local taxation for marginal improvements in each attribute. The majority of respondents, however, showed a strong preference for the maintenance of current standards of provision and fiscal charges. The approach has potential general application, enabling estimates of PROW for other regions, helping to justify and prioritise expenditure and operational activities on this important public good.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-91
    Number of pages9
    JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2009


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