Innovative Transportation Planning Partnerships to Enhance National Parks and Gateway Communities

Gateway communities and federal lands are interdependent. The communities rely heavily on the visitors that are drawn to the area for its natural beauty or historic significance; the national parks and forests depend upon the gateway communities to provide visitors with basic services and amenities to make travel easy and enjoyable. The transportation linkages between the parks and the surrounding area are crucial to supporting this critical relationship. The transportation system is often an integral part of the experience of visiting a federal land site. Railroads and motor coach tours provided the initial access to many national parks. Park roads, scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and bicycle paths are the focal points of many visits. Consequently, traffic congestion, vehicle-generated noise and air pollution, and deteriorating roadways are concerns at many national parks and public lands. These issues may also spill over to adjacent gateway communities. The federal land management agencies, the U. S. Department of Transportation, state departments of transportation, local communities, foundations, regional organizations, businesses, and other groups are all responding to these opportunities, concerns, and challenges. The implementation and operation of transit services within national parks, as well as between national parks and gateway communities, represents one approach to addressing these concerns. Other approaches include implementing advanced technology to provide information on traffic conditions and parking availability, adding pedestrian and bicycling paths, and managing demand on existing roadways. This report examines the innovative partnerships among national parks, gateway communities, state departments of transportation, federal transportation agencies, foundations, and other groups to address transportation issues with creative solutions. Case studies are presented highlighting new and existing transit services and other approaches in and around national parks, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges. The information presented in this report should benefit staff and policy makers with the national parks, transportation agencies, gateway communities, and other groups interested in developing and operating transit services and supporting programs in, and adjacent to, national parks and federal lands.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This report was requested by the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning. It was prepared as part of NCHRP Project 08-36, Task 83, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Transportation Research Board.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Texas Transportation Institute

    Texas A&M University System, 3135 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3135

    Cambridge Systematics, Incorporated

    4800 Hampden Lane
    Bethesda, MD  United States  20814
  • Authors:
    • Turnbull, Katherine F
  • Publication Date: 2009-10


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Maps; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: 92p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152766
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 18 2010 7:09AM