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Visual Landscape Quality as Viewed from Motorways in Spain

Belén Martín, Rosa Arce, Isabel Otero and Manuel Loro
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Belén Martín: Centro de Investigación del Transporte (TRANSyT-UPM), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Prof. Aranguren s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Isabel Otero: Centro de Investigación del Transporte (TRANSyT-UPM), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Prof. Aranguren s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Manuel Loro: Centro de Investigación del Transporte (TRANSyT-UPM), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Prof. Aranguren s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 8, 1-13

Abstract: Motorways are large infrastructures that alter the environmental resources in a territory, while constituting an important element through which the individual comes into contact with the landscape. Motorways are integrated in the landscape through their layout design and construction, the aesthetic details of minor structures (design and building materials) and the treatment of embankments and landscape planting. In this paper, we test the following hypotheses: motorway elements are related to the perception of landscape quality—from the point of view of the road users—and the aesthetic characteristics of minor infrastructures and planting affect the quality of the landscape perceived from the roads. These research questions were tested by comparing the visual quality of the landscapes captured in 128 photographs taken from sections of motorways in Spain. We compared the results obtained from (a) a photo-based method, and (b) the public’s landscape preferences determined using a survey of 737 people. The results show a correlation between the landscape quality values obtained using the model and the landscape preferences expressed by the public. We also found that the presence of the motorway elements and their aesthetic characteristics are significant in the users’ perception. These results can be applied in the decision-making process for potential investments to integrate new and existing motorways in the landscape.

Keywords: landscape aesthetics; visual quality; motorways; public preferences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:8:p:2592-:d:159637

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