Date of Award

3-2015

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning/MS in Engineering (Transportation Planning Specialization)

Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Michael Boswell

Abstract

Bicycling is a method of tourism transportation that is healthy, non-invasive, environmentally responsible, and economically sustainable. It allows freedom, mobility, and sightseeing potential that is not made possible by other modes of transit. Thousands of bicycle tourists travel from all over the globe annually to explore California on touring bikes via established cycling routes and robust determination. Thousands of additional domestic and international visitors take weekend trips, plan family vacations, travel for business, or tour California from abroad, many of whom are excellent candidates for local and regional bicycle touring at a more gentle intensity level.

The increasing popularity and prominence of bicycle tourism, among both domestic and international travelers, carries great potential for economic benefit to local communities. Rural and agricultural communities can particularly benefit from bicycle tourism, as these communities do not normally experience the benefits of tourism as significantly as their urban, coastal or mountainous neighbors. Tourism that is developed in accordance with the size, scale, constraints and character of a particular community can have a beneficial effect on the economics and industry of the area. Infrastructure projects to this effect, such as development of a town or regional trail system, wayfinding features, or other resources come with benefits for visitors and locals in the form of recreation, public health, mobility, and access to food, drink, amenities, scenic areas, jobs and commerce. Trails may further improve the economy of the local housing market, as proximity to trails has a positive effect on housing values. Incorporation of agricultural destinations into local tourism planning creates a draw for visitors and can become a mutually beneficial relationship – contributing to the economic stability of the agriculture industry, preserving local farm lands, increasing tourism revenue and educating the public on the importance of local farming. Through careful planning of the touristic components of the destination, rural communities can achieve multifaceted economic benefits of diverse and versatile tourism amenities.