2022 Health, Social Equity & Economic Impact Study
Trails not only provide a wide range of recreational values, services, and protection of specific natural and cultural features, but they also explicitly contribute to social and economic well-being. To assist the National Park Service, local governments and land managing agencies with completion of their PHNST trail and connection trail gaps, the NVRC, on behalf of its PHNST partners, sought to develop a deeper understanding about why the trail and its connections are valuable to Northern Virginia residents, businesses, and the economy.
In January 2022, NVRC released the results of a community impact assessment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail in Northern Virginia. The study includes an assessment of health equity, social equity, transportation, and economic impacts of improving trail access, closing trail gaps, and making safe connections to nearby communities. The objective of the study was to assess the public health and community-related impacts associated with use of the trail and to provide recommendations to maximize those impacts and help justify the investment of public funds.
NVRC retained economic research firm BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct the assessment.
The study includes a final written report and outreach materials from BBC with findings of the health, social equity, and economic impact of the trail in Northern Virginia. NVRC also produced an interactive dashboard to provide a summary of findings and several interactive maps that display the location of the trail and health, social equity, economic, and transportation characteristics in areas along and in the vicinity of the trail.
The final report produced by NVRC's consultant, BBC Research & Consulting, reports on the findings of the health, social equity, and economic impact of the trail in Northern Virginia. There is also an errata sheet for the report.
The study's dashboard provides a summary of the results by trail impact. It also provides interactive maps that display the health, social equity, economic, and transportation characteristics in areas along and in the vicinity of the trail.