Measuring and Managing the Quality of Transportation at Acadia National Park


  • Peter R. Pettengill
  • Robert E. Manning
  • Laura E. Anderson
  • William Valliere
  • Nathan Reigner


Indicators and standards of quality, transportation, levels of service, multimodal transportation, quality of service


In response to increased use of parks and outdoor recreation related areas, transportation legislation passed in 1998 required the Departments of Transportation and Interior to assess transportation needs and develop planning procedures for congestion management in parks and on public lands. One year later, the National Park Service responded by publishing its Transportation Planning Guidebook. This publication used a number of case studies to illustrate a range of park management strategies for addressing traffic congestion. A common theme throughout the guidebook was implementation of alternative transportation systems, including shuttle buses and bicycle/pedestrian facilities, in addition to roads. Together, this integrated infrastructure and the forms of transportation accommodated are known as multimodal transportation networks. These networks provide managers opportunities to disperse visitor use over space and time, a strategy for addressing congestion and crowding. As this strategy is more widely used, multimodal transportation is an increasingly important component of the experience of visitors to national parks and related areas. While conventional transportation planning uses a levels of service (LOS) framework to measure and manage many modes of transportation, it lacks measures of visitor experience critical in park and outdoor recreation contexts. Indicators and standards of quality, a framework widely used in the field of park and outdoor recreation management, give explicit consideration to visitor perspectives and incorporate them into management. Using Acadia National Park as a study site, this paper illustrates that LOS and indicators and standards of quality can be integrated to provide a more holistic approach to transportation management in park and outdoor recreation contexts. Furthermore it develops a series of potential standards for density of use on roads, in shuttle buses, and along shared-use paths. These standards provide a rational basis for informed planning and management of alternative transportation in parks and outdoor recreation.





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