Making the Impossible Possible

From the transcontinental railroad to the canals that forged America, national parks tell the story of transportation in America.  

The history of the National Park System is also inextricably linked to transportation. In the early part of the 20th century, the great railroads promoted parks in order to entice tourists to travel out west. The successful promotion of national parks and the advent of the automobile created a need for expanded access. Magnificently designed scenic roads and parkways have been central to defining visitor experiences by harmonizing with the environment and providing extraordinary views. 

Today, National Park Service transportation professionals protect park resources and provide access to millions of visitors each year by planning, implementing, and managing innovative transportation systems.

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4 minutes, 43 seconds

Brief overview that discusses transportation system infrastructure the NPS manages and the benefits of transportation to and within parks

a big construction  project on the road on the side of a wooded mountain

"Mega" Projects

Learn about large infrastructure projects that require a greater amount of funding than what is available to the NPS annually.

a group of young people biking on a bike path next to a body of water

Alternative Transportation

Alternative transportation uses transit systems, bicycle and pedestrian links, and partnering to integrate transportation.

looking across river, bridge on right, washington monument in left background


Spanning rivers and valleys, bridges were an essential part of the making of America.

mountain on left in background, road in center with cars driving toward you

Roads, Routes and Highways

National Parks and cars grew up together. As automobiles evolved, so did National Parks.

an old black locomotive, smoke coming out of the top

Trains and Railroads

Running on rails, trains traversed the north american continent and brought a nation together quicker than ever imagined.

cars backed up on southwestern road

Improve Congestion

Collecting traffic data, assessing conditions, and using appropriate planning processes can help reduce traffic and congestion issues.

Last updated: July 15, 2019