In recent years, development of cycling and hiking paths, mostly on disused railway lines and canal towpaths, has added an attractive amenity for both tourists and residents alike. Notable examples are the Great Western Greenway from Westport to Achill,
- Old Rail Trail from Athlone to Mullingar,
- Great Southern Greenway in Limerick and
- Waterford Dungarvan Greenway.
Dorgan Associates was involved in CBAs for two projected greenways: the Cork Harbour Greenway and the Midleton to Youghal Greenway, both promoted by Cork County Council. The former project is a link which will eventually result in a continuous 23 km greenway from Cork City to Crosshaven and will have commuter as well as recreational benefits. A wide variety of benefits can be generated by greenways but only three can realistically be estimated:
- amenity benefits, the pleasure of walking or cycling in attractive rural settings,
- health benefits from enticing the population to take more exercise, and
- tourism spin off from the rapidly growing segment of foreign and domestic tourists for whom hiking and cycling are important vacation activities.
The costs of greenways are usually relatively small since the right of way is already in public possession and structural works are minor. On the other hand they have proved highly popular with each user bringing a parcel of the above benefits. Consequently, economic returns tend to be high.