The "Network Effect" says that in any network, the more connections the more users, and the more users the higher the value of the network as a whole. The Coast to Coast Connector is the perfect example of the network effect, and it will be fascinating to watch the usage and value explode over the next few years.
We all know trails that are like the top image at right - they go from point A to Point B, and they get traffic from people who want to go between A and B, plus some people just out for exercise or pleasure. But as soon as you connect a few more points, all of a sudden you get a lot more traffic. Say you add 3 points as shown in the middle image - you might expect to see 3 times the usage... but in fact you get 10 times the usage! Add a few more points and you get the explosion of usage and value in the bottom image. That's the network effect.
The Coast to Coast Connector connects the East Coast Greenway with the Gulf Coast, tieing in some of Florida's greatest trails, like the West Orange, the Withlacoochee, the Van Fleet and the Pinellas. When complete this trail network will be one of the largest and most scenic anywhere. As is true with any network - more connection points means more usage, more postive impact, and more value.
The Coast to Coast Connector shares large segments of the St Johns River to Sea Loop, which shares a large segment of the East Coast Greenway. So now the connections are not just with other trails in Florida, but all the way up the East Coast as Far as Maine! It also shares large segments of the West Orange Trail, the Pinellas Trail and other existing and emerging trails. This reduces costs and increases the value of all the trails.
Here's an excerpt from the latest post from the C2C Connector, highlighting the beautiful West Orange Trail (you can read the full post here):
No doubt part of the C2C’s appeal is hiking or biking to the sun-sational Florida coasts. But, don’t trek so fast across the state you miss the equally sun-sational jewel in the middle: the West Orange Trail. Between Apopka and Winter Garden in Orange County, the West Orange Trail is 20 miles of urban and rural delights that attracts over 150,000 people each month.
Natural highlights include tree canopies, a butterfly garden, and the 128-acre Oakland Nature Preserve on the south shore of Lake Apopka. Keep moving and you will coast right through the middle of a bustling downtown Winter Garden, where you can grab a drink or bite to eat at a local restaurant or cool off at the splash pad.
What you won’t see is the millions of dollars the trail has pumped into the Central Florida economy. A phenomenal success story, the West Orange Trail has inspired cities and counties all over the state to incorporate a trail into their communities to spur revitalization and economic prosperity. This particular study may be a little dated, but the data says it all.
Here's a recent picture from the St Johns River to Sea Loop, which shares the Spring to Spring and other trails. (you can read the full post here)
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