Who is using the network

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If you have data available from people counters, this will be very helpful and it is probably best to interview people near to a counter - this adds value to your data allowing you to extrapolate the results more easily.  This assumes that the people counters are properly placed and working at the time of the evaluation.

If there are no counters, use local knowledge of the network to inform your decision where to collect data and get an estimate of how many people are likely to use the path(s). Choose locations that will give you a range of users and will enable you to collect enough responses.

However, it is easy to use a lack of path user data as an excuse for inaction. Even without accurate counter data your results can still be presented to show the impact of the path network, for example the size of benefit per 1000 users.

If the respondents from outside the local area spend, on average, £25 during their visit, this means that for every 1,000 tourists, the network brings a benefit of £25,000 to the local economy. The survey should allow you to estimate the ratio of local users versus tourists during the period of survey, and if 1 in every 5 visitors were classed as a tourist, then overall, for every 1000 path users, the economic benefit would be £5,000.

This will not give you a complete picture, or provide an accurate indication of the actual size of the economic benefit, but it will give you figures to work with until you have information about how many people use the network.

About the toolkit

This toolkit has been designed and written by Walking-the-Talk based on research and initial development by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh