In 2002, NPS managers gathered in a series of meetings to outline a strategy plan for incorporating alternative transportation modes into the national parks. The initial plan spanned the years 2002 to 2006. An updated Alternative Transportation Program Strategic Action Plan, 2012-2016 is now available.
From a resource conservation standpoint it is unacceptable, in many cases, to allow for additional resource impacts as a result of more roads and larger parking areas to accommodate more automobiles. Alternative means of transportation must be explored to provide access and a quality visitor experience, without additional adverse impacts to resources. Many parks have used alternative transportation systems (ATS) as a tool to achieve their mission and ultimately the mission of the NPS. ATS integrates all modes of travel within a park, including transit, bicycle and pedestrian linkages, and the automobile; and includes a whole range of technologies, facilities, and transportation management strategies.
Many ATS incorporate transit systems to provide access, but it is reasonable to say that not all parks need to embark on a full-scale transit system and that managing the automobile, providing pedestrian and bicycle linkages and employing other management strategies is a part of this integrated approach. Alternative transportation recognizes the importance of roads, bridges and trails that support the use of alternative modes of travel. There are more than 72 National Park units with some form of ATS with 52 parks relying exclusively on ATS to access the park. Existing alternative transportation systems do and will continue to require improvement in their infrastructure, operations and integration in order to fulfill the mission of the NPS.
Download the Final NPS Alternative Transportation Program Strategic Action Plan, 2012—2016