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Published in American Journal of Public Health April 2004, Vol 94, No. 4.


We estimated the annual cost of bike and pedestrian trails in Lincoln, Neb, using construction and maintenance costs provided by the Department of Parks and Recreation of Nebraska. We obtained the number of users of 5 trails from a 1998 census report. The annual construction cost of each trail was calculated by using 3%, 5%, and 10% discount rates for a period of useful life of 10, 30, and 50 years. The average cost per mile and per user was calculated.
Trail length averaged 3.6 miles (range=1.6–4.6 miles). Annual cost in 2002 dollars ranged from $25 762 to $248479 (mean=$124927; median=$171064). The cost per mile ranged from $5735 to $54017 (mean=$35355; median = $37 994). The annual cost per user was $235 (range=$83–$592), whereas per capita annual medical cost of inactivity was $622.
Construction of trails fits a wide range of budgets and may be a viable health amenity for most communities. To increase trail cost-effectiveness, efforts to decrease cost and increase the number of users should be considered.

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