Measuring the usage and perceived value of local amenities for Auckland Council
Auckland Council wanted to understand the value that the Auckland population places on local amenities (libraries, community centres, arts centres, neighbourhood parks, leisure centres, swimming pools/aquatic centres, indoor courts and sports fields), whether they used them or not. The ‘use’ and ‘non-use’ values of these amenities were required to help inform the business case evaluations for specific amenities being proposed. The project was conducted in partnership with RAND Europe and Nexus, with Accent leading the market research and contributing to the survey design and analysis.
The method was an online survey via a questionnaire that included Stated Choice experiments (SCs) to measure the value of local amenities and to collect data about the usage of each of the amenities.
The SC experiments were based around a series of hypothetical choices. Participants were asked to imagine that they were moving into a new area in Auckland, and to think about what amenities they would like and how much extra they would be willing to pay to have access (through increased rates). The options included different amenities, with differing service levels, costs and access distances. A pilot of 150 was undertaken, followed by a main stage of 1,850 interviews two months later.
It was discovered that use values are higher than non-use values; those who use the amenities value them more highly. However, households that do not use some amenities still value them. We also found that frequency of use and proximity have an impact on valuation – frequent users are willing to pay more for amenities than less frequent users and the value of the amenity diminishes if people have to drive over 20 minutes to get there.
Auckland Council has published the results of the full study that can be found here