Using a Means-End Approach to Understand the Factors that Influence Greenway Use


  • Eric Frauman
  • Peter H. Cunningham


Attributes, benefits sought, benefits-based management, greenways, means-end theory, outdoor recreation, recreation resource management, resource allocation, values


A growing and important part of outdoor recreation resource management is the development of greenways in urban and suburban areas (Moore, Scott, & Graefe, 1998). These greenway areas provide recreational amenities, enhance natural features, and are thought to beautify urban environments (Little, 1990). Recognizing that one goal of managers of linear parks (i.e., greenways) is to provide a recreation setting that facilitates satisfying user experiences, this study utilized a means-end approach to test its potential as a tool in aiding recreation resource managers meet the aforementioned goal. Drawn from means-end theory (Gutman, 1982) and adapted for this study, the approach attempts to identify relationships between attributes (i.e., natural and management features), reasons for use (benefits sought), and underlying personal values associated with using a greenway. Founded linkages or “chains” are thought to provide insight into future use behavior. In Fall 1999, a twopage self-administered questionnaire was distributed to users of a greenway system in the southeastern United States in an attempt to identify the attributes, benefits, and values (ABV) perceived as important by them when on the greenway. Three hundred and twenty-five users were systematically approached onsite, with 270 completing the questionnaire for an overall response rate of 83.1%. Multiple-item five-point Likert-scaled measures were developed to examine importance attributed to various ABV. Following reliability and factor analysis, correlational analysis was performed, revealing several significant relationships (p<.001, r>.30) between respective ABV factors. A number of useful ABV chains were determined with one of the three identified attribute factors titled “amenities” (e.g., paved trails, many points of access, level terrain) linked to over 90.0% of the 15 complete chains. Three of the six benefit factors (autonomy, stimulation, escape) accounted for over 85% of the links between attribute and value factors. Based on the findings of this study, the insight gained from a means-end perspective appears to have utility in fostering a better understanding of how greenway features and offerings relate to the enhancement of personal values and meet the needs of users. This understanding of ABV chains may aid greenway managers and planners in the tailoring of promotions, evaluating existing services and features, as well as developing new services desired by their visiting public. In addition, an understanding regarding how reasons for use (i.e., benefits sought) are linked to attributes and features of a greenway may offer recreation resource managers and administrators an opportunity to manage with a benefits-based perspective in mind.