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Economic Impact Analysis of the Trail

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Executive Summary

Winding throughout the heart of central Austin is the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake (the Trail), a lush, urban path that follows along the water’s edge and passes skyscrapers, neighborhoods, ball fields and cultural attractions. With nearly 2.6 million visits annually, the 10-mile-hike-and-bike Trail is one of the Austin’s most recognized and popular recreational areas.

The Trail was developed in the 1970s out of a sense of community spirit and responsibility, and in 2003 The Trail Foundation (TTF) was formed to ensure that the Trail remains Austin’s premier urban green space for this and for future generations.

Today, The Trail Foundation prides itself in protecting and enhancing the Trail. They have fulfilled their mission through careful improvements to the Trail’s infrastructure, amenities, and environment, while honoring the original vision of the Trail’s founders.

AngelouEconomics was retained by TTF to measure the economic impact of the Trail as well as the positive externalities that the Trail provides, including its ecological, public health, corporate location, and transportation benefits. The City and The Trail Foundation’s efforts in protecting and improving the Trail provide Austin and its residents with invaluable benefits in many aspects of every-day life. The following report is a testament to the sweeping positive impacts that the Trail provides to Austin.

The Trail’s Impact on Austin

  • Economic Impact – The Trail involves capital improvement projects as well as ongoing maintenance activities to preserve and improve the Trail. These expenditures have a positive annual impact on the local community.
  • Ecological Benefits – Quantifies the environmental impacts of the Trail based off data gathered in the Ecological Restoration Guidelines report.
  • Transportation – Illustrates the story of the Trail as a major access point, connecting people to events held at Zilker Park, Auditorium Shores, and other downtown venues. It also includes a traffic congestion relief analysis.
  • Health Benefits – An analysis of the health benefits that accrue to residents and health care providers through reduced claims that are directly related to the Trail.
  • Corporate Location – The impact of the Trail on corporate location decisions in the proximal region of downtown Austin.



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