Multi-modal Travel in the National Parks
Although growth in park visitation translates to interest in these special places, as well as economic health for the communities that surround the parks, it significantly stretches park resources. Since almost all travel into and within the national parks is based on personal automobiles, congestion has become an unfortunate part of the park experience. Congestion results in overcrowding, air pollution, resource degradation, and threatening the long-term quality of the parks.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) signed November 15, 1997 sets forth the goals and strategies for establishing a mutually beneficial relationship to improve transportation in and approaching National Park Service (NPS) facilities.
The 1997 MOU and the 1998 legislation, Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), gave the NPS increased responsibility in transportation planning, and paved the way for development of the Alternative Transportation Program (ATP). The ATP coordinates policies, projects and activities related to transportation planning, partnering, and implementation of alternative transportation systems within and to NPS units. The ATP also develops strategies and recommendations for Servicewide application on issues crossing agency and State/Federal lines and jurisdictions.