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    Author(s): Kathleen L. Wolf
    Date: 2006
    Source: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 1984, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2006, pp. 102-111.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.95 MB)


    Social science methods can be used to assess how the public values contextsensitive solutions. The roadside landscape is a public lands resource that has many functions and provides many benefits. Diverse stakeholders may have varied expectations for roadside design. The urban forest is often a contested component of the urban roadside. Two research surveys based on landscape assessment literature were used to assess and quantify public preferences and perceptions with regard to trees in highspeed and freeway roadsides. One photo questionnaire was distributed in urban areas nationally and the other in Washington State. To elicit public attitudes about visual quality and community image, each survey included design visualizations constructed with digitally edited photographs. Research results were consistent across both studies. Respondents judged images with increasing amounts of roadside vegetation, including trees, to have a higher amenity value. The presence of more extensive community greening was associated with positive consumer inferences and greater willingness to pay for goods and services. There was little variation in responses across respondent demographics. Results provide an empirical basis for flexible highway design and promote planning options for roadside urban forests that address multiple stakeholder interests.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Wolf, Kathleen L. 2006. Assessing public response to freeway roadsides: urban forestry and context-sensitive solutions. Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 1984: 102-111.

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