[transport-communications] Transportation & Interior Depts. to Test Traveler Info in Acadia National Park
- U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Office of the Secretary ~ Office of Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20590
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 1, 1999
Contact: Virginia Miller
Transportation, Interior Departments To Conduct
Traffic Improvement Test in Acadia National Park
Safety, Mobility and Access Improvements Anticipated
PHILADELPHIAU.S. Assistant Transportation Secretary Eugene A. Conti Jr.
today joined Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in announcing an
unprecedented joint venture between the U.S. Departments of Transportation
and the Interior that is expected to bring safety, mobility and access
benefits to National Parks across the nation.
The joint venture, which includes a field test at Acadia National Park in
Maine, will use Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications.
"President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to putting people
first and protecting the environment," Secretary Slater commented.
"Improving safety, mobility and access in our National Parks will benefit
visitors and at the same time help protect the fragile ecosystems in the
parks, which are among our nation's most precious resources."
The ITS operational test will center around an Advanced Traveler
Information System (ATIS). The ATIS will give travelers real-time
information on parking availability, bus arrival and departure times,
weather, and other information. In conjunction with other efforts, the
traveler information system is expected to decrease congestion by
encouraging visitors to ride the Island Explorer Shuttle System. The
final design of the system may also include other traveler information
such as availability of accommodations and notices of park events.
"Acadia is a microcosm for what's happening everywhere. From Yosemite to
Yellowstone, to the Grand Canyon and Zion, the Park Service is looking at
emerging technology to help fulfill our 83-year-old mandate to provide
public access to, and preserve unimpaired, our greatest natural
resources," Secretary Babbitt said.
High volumes of visitors and increasing congestion led to the selection of
Acadia National Park in Maine as the site for the field operational test,
which is a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Transportation's
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office and the
National Park Service. Transportation information collected will be
transferred to other parks across the nation. The cost of the project
will be approximately $2 million, to be jointly funded by the two
"We are enthusiastic about this opportunity to apply lessons of ITS
metropolitan successes to the rural setting in Acadia National Park,"
Conti said. "Much of traffic congestion relief in the new millennium will
be characterized by efficiencies such as those provided by ITS
applications." Conti is the DOT's assistant secretary for policy.
Acadia National Park encompasses 35,000 acres, primarily on Mount Desert
Island, on the east coast of Maine. Nearly two million people visited the
park during the summer of 1997, and in July and August Acadia's visitors
exceeded those to Yosemite National Park. These visitors, nearly all of
whom arrive in private vehicles, plus roadway constraints and parking
construction have created a rich climate for ITS applications.
The department's ITS Joint Program Office said that final design of the
system will be completed by early spring of 2000 and systems installation
will begin in early summer. The U.S. Department of Transportation also
will fund an independent evaluation of the field test.
The Intelligent Transportation Systems program was established by the
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and was
reauthorized in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
(TEA-21), which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1998. ITS
uses communications, computer and sensor technology to improve surface
transportation safety, mobility and efficiency.
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