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The issue of non-motorized mobility in the last decades has seen increasing attention at the international level. Also in Italy we assisted at the creation of hundreds of miles of trails dedicated to cycling and walking, many of which meet the greenway definition of the European Greenways Association: “Communication routes reserved exclusively for non-motorized journeys, developed in an integrated manner which enhances both the environment and quality of life of the surrounding area. These routes should meet satisfactory standards of width, gradient, and surface condition to ensure that they are both user-friendly and low-risk for users of all abilities. In this respect, canal towpaths and disused railway lines are a highly suitable resource for the development of greenways” (EGWA, 2002).

More generally, greenways are green infrastructures that can be planned at different scales and for multiple purposes (ecological, recreational, cultural, non-motorized mobility) (Fabos, 1995; Ahern, 1995).

Various methodologies and several studies on greenways planning have been conducted also in Italy (Rovelli et al., 2004; Toccolini et al., 2006; Senes et al., 2010).

The growing number of infrastructures built and the related costs, combined with the recent economic crisis, led to an increasing need for public bodies to evaluate each project in terms of its ability to meet the needs of the communities, particularly in terms of attractiveness for users and benefits (not only economic) for local communities. To do this, planners and decision makers need to be provided with: 1) updated and consistent data on greenways and trails users; 2) models, based on the previous data, that can help to "predict" the number of users on a planned infrastructure.

In such a context, the aim of this research was to assess the relationships between the number of users detected along some Italian greenways and the characteristics of the territory crossed (in terms of population and environment), in order to define a model capable of estimating the potential users of a greenway before it is realized. It represents one of the first attempts in Italy.



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