Research Reports

Attributes and Amenities of Minnesota's Highway System That Are Important to Tourists

Principal Investigator:

William C Gartner, Lisa L Love, Daniel L Erkkila

February 2002

Report no. MnDOT 2003-22

Projects: Attributes and Amenities of Highway System that are Important to Tourists

Topics: Economics, Modes, Planning

Eleven road segments in Minnesota were examined in a user survey that addressed road travelers' preferences for physical characteristics, aesthetics, and amenities of that segment. The user survey was based on earlier focus group work that provided the framework for this portion of the study. Results revealed that road travelers are able to differentiate between physical and socially derived attributes and amenities associated with a particular roadway. Roads do indeed have character, and users are able to identify and evaluate characteristics specific to each road segment. Certain road characteristics strongly influenced users' trip satisfaction. Specifically, many roadway features related to maintaining scenic and environmental qualities were highly valued. It was also apparent that users are not supportive of additional business development along some roadways, instead preferring to see that activity clustered in communities located on the road segment. Benefits sought and attained by road travelers frequently included the opportunity to be with friends and family, escape from everyday life, and relaxation. Results also revealed that even though a particular roadway may not have official scenic designation, user evaluations were similar to or even more focused on the scenic qualities of that road when compared to roadways with official scenic designation.

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