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Accurately measuring scenic beauty has been the objective of many researchers since the mid 1970s. The scenic beauty estimation method (Daniel and Boster, 1976) and its experimental procedures have been used extensively to establish relationships between a number of factors and respondents ratings of the scenic beauty of a variety of landscape stimuli, mostly photographs. This paper documents how landscape narrative information, presented in a driving simulator based laboratory setting caused significant elevations in scenic beauty ratings. In this study, geographic data sets were used to create a real time documentary style narrative for an entertainment-oriented advanced traveler information system or ATIS (Campbell et al., 1999) interface developed in the IDEA laboratory at the University of British Columbia. This narrative was designed as a factual yet entertaining story about the many fascinating aspects of the natural world present on either side of a 60 km section of the sea to sky highway (the “route”) in British Columbia, Canada. Ratings of scenic beauty and driving experience were obtained for three different modes of delivery of this information and were compared to ratings obtained from a control condition. Reported scenic beauty and driving experience ratings for each of the three delivery modes were significantly higher than those in the control condition. Furthermore, the magnitude of these elevations was found to be highest in areas of low scenic beauty and poor driving experience.
Journal: Landscape and Urban Planning - Volume 82, Issues 1–2, 15 August 2007, Pages 85–93