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[transport-communications] Transportation & Interior Depts. to Test Traveler Info in Acadia National Park

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    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Office of the Secretary ~ Office of Public Affairs Washington, DC 20590 ... FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, November 1, 1999
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 1999
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      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
      Tel.: 202-366-0660
      FHWA 72-99

      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
      departments.

      "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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