Alternative Transportation In The National Parks

zion_busAlternative transportation systems (ATS) help park units minimize resource impacts where traffic volume on existing roadway infrastructure has reached or is over capacity. These systems are important to the National Park Service (NPS) and its visitors: 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.

NPS currently has 147 alternative transportation systems in 72 park units nationwide. The systems are provided through contractual, concession and/or partnership agreements. Twenty systems are owned and operated by the NPS, 97 are contracted by the NPS through concession contracts, 13 are operated by service contracts, and 17 are provided under cooperative agreements with public or private partners.

Alternative transportation systems in the NPS include a variety of vehicle types:

  • 65 (44%) systems are shuttle/bus/van/tram
  • 50 (34%) systems are boat/ferry
  • 14 (10%) systems are snowcoaches
  • 14 (9%) systems are planes
  • 4 (3%) systems are trains/trolley
  • 66% (175/264) of NPS-owned vehicles operate on alternative fuel, while 14% (79/562) of Non-NPS-owned vehicles operate on alternative fuel

Across the NPS, new ATS vehicles are “rolling ambassadors,” exemplifying the NPS commitment to enhancing the visitor experience.