I've been doing this calculation naturally for a long time: The shortest/fastest route? or the little bit out of the way alternative that would take me over footbridges crossing creeks, down the rail trail away from traffic? Utilitarian? or Scenic?
I'll never forget the night I opted for the longer, darker route along the rail trail. It is a bit creepy to go off into the darkness on a trail riding a bicycle with only a small light, but this time I was rewarded with the sight of thousands of tiny floating lights: fireflies! I hadn't seen fireflies in years, and it was absolutely magical to be surrounded by these little sparks of light.
Here's the article where I found the video about happy routes, check it out http://ideas.ted.com/the-shortest-paths-to-happiness-literally/
Feel free to share your experience in the comments.