Title

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK: ASSESSMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2000

Subject Area

infrastructure - busway, planning - environmental impact, land use - impacts, ridership - demand, policy - environment, mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - pedestrian

Keywords

Walking, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel demand, Trade off analysis, Resources, Recreational trips, Protective treatments, Preservation, Natural resources, National parks, Motor bus transportation, Light rail transit, Intercity bus transportation, Grand Canyon National Park, Environmental impacts, Environmental effects, Earth resources, Cycling, Costs, Comparison studies, Busways, Bus transportation, Bicycling, Articulated buses, Alternatives analysis

Abstract

Continuing traffic growth on roadways in the Grand Canyon National Park is a significant problem, detracting from the park as a natural, scenic environment and generating unacceptable levels of noise, air pollution, and congestion. A 1995 General Management Plan for the park identified transportation as the most significant issue affecting preservation of the park's unique natural resources. In FY 1999, the U.S. Congress directed the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration to undertake a review of the transportation alternatives considered by the National Park Service for the Grand Canyon. These alternatives included light rail, standard bus, articulated bus, and articulated bus on busway. The review concluded that transit is an appropriate solution to the transportation problems in the popular South Rim area of the Grand Canyon because of the concentration of visitors at a small number of destinations requiring motor-vehicle access and the viability of walking and bicycling as modes of transportation within the park that can complement transit service. Light-rail service, which is the preferred alternative identified by the National Park Service, has the advantage compared with bus service that it can accommodate high levels of peak-hour, peak-season demand. Although the lowest-cost alternative considered is articulated bus operated on a busway, the costs of several light-rail and bus alternatives are not substantially higher. The use of transit services by park visitors will result in substantial environmental benefits, reducing vehicular emissions and noise dramatically through a major reduction in the use of private vehicles.