Yellowstone National Park will introduce two new shuttles serving the busiest parts of the park as pilot projects this year. One of those services involves automated shuttles.
In consultation with the National Park Service Park Planning, Facilities and Lands Directorate and DOT, Yellowstone selected Canyon Village to test a low-speed, driverless shuttle that would potentially serve the campground, visitor services, and adjoining visitor lodging area.
The purpose of this pilot is to test emerging automated vehicle technology in the National Park context. Exact shuttle stops, route locations and distance will be determined jointly between the park and the selected vendor, Beep Inc.
Shuttles will run from late May through August. The other service is of a more traditional nature. Yellowstone is partnering with the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Alternative Transportation Program, the National Park Service Denver Service Center, and the DOT Volpe Center to analyze the opportunities, risks and costs of local shuttles possibly originating at Old Faithful and Canyon Village.
Project partners will also look at potential system locations, routes, stops, fleet requirements, business models, ridership and costs. Traffic has been a huge issue for National Park Service officials in recent years: as visitation continues to rise, even despite COVID-19. Discussions of a shuttle system of some sort predate the Cam Sholly era and the Dan Wenk era, with discussions of instigating Yellowstone shuttles as a way to relieve traffic issues.