Alternative transportation systems (ATS) help national parks minimize resource impacts where traffic volume on existing roadway infrastructure has reached or is over capacity. These systems are important to the NPS and its visitors, because they contribute to preserving resources including improvements to air quality, soundscapes, and reduced wildlife/auto collisions. These systems also demonstrate leadership in using alternative transportation to reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
The National Park Service currently has 131 alternative transportation systems in 66 park units nationwide. The systems are provided through contractual, concession and/or partnership agreements. Twenty of the systems are owned and operated by the NPS, 96 are contracted by the NPS through concession and/or service contracts, and 15 are provided under cooperative agreements with public or private partners:
- 61 systems are buses (over 70% of this fleet is comprised of alternative fueled vehicles including propane, compressed natural gas, and diesel/electric hybrid vehicles)
- 40 systems are water-based (ferry boats, canal boats, small tour boats)
- 5 systems are rail (historic trolleys and scenic railroads)
- 25 systems are other small vans and specialty vehicles, including planes
See the separate section on this web site that covers alternative transportation in national park units in greater depth.