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Travel Cost Valuation

Using the resource
Requirements for using the resource:
<ul>
<li>Data on travel costs are mainly collected by economists themselves. GIS estimates of network distances and data on site attributes are sometimes collected with help from researchers from other fields</li>
<li>Software is available either free (e.g. R) or on licence (e.g. ArcGIS)</li>
<li>Accessibility to the sites must be calculated using GIS (and preferably distances to the sites through the road network) to generate accurate value estimates.</li>
<li>Econometric methods are used to estimate recreational demand functions (single sites) and models of choice of visit (multiple sites).</li>
<li>Multiple-site travel costs estimates are usually conducted in specialised software such as STATA, NLogit or similar, but free software exist such as BIogene</li>
</ul>
Potential benefits from using the resource
Travel cost is a recognised and established approach drawing on revealed data
The method can be used to provide a public policy rationale for providing green spaces for recreational activities
It can be used to study designs of recreational site quality
Potential limitations from using the resource
It requires large data sets on recreational activities and extensive GIS pre-processing of travel cost data and site characteristics (multiple site approach)
The method is specific to the estimation of recreational services and cannot be generalised to estimate a range of other services
Results are highly sensitive to assumptions about cost of time
Scope
Scale of application:
National
Subnational
Practical information
UN languages in which the resource is available:
Development stage:
Full, working product
Contact details
Prof Mette Termansen
Resources
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The travel cost method is based on the observation that recreational services can only be realised through physical access to nature. This implies that individuals seeking to enjoy the service will need to spend resources (time and money) to travel to the site. The travel activity is a reflection of the use value this service has to people. There are basically two different types of travel cost methods: one based on a valuation of a single site (appropriate when the site in question is of particular interest and significance) and one based on choices between multiple sites (appropriate when the researcher is interested in valuing the attributes of recreational sites, i.e. to determine the importance of environmental attributes, recreational facilities and accessibility, not simply site access).

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