Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg signed a joint pledge Wednesday to test some of the newest and most innovative travel technologies on public lands and improve visitors’ experiences.
Under multimillion-dollar pilot programs made available by the $1-trillion infrastructure law and other federal spending, visitors to national parks could see self-driving shuttle buses, along with electric scooter or bike stations and electric charging stations for zero-emission cars. Already this past year, Yellowstone was the first to begin a limited test of eight-passenger automated shuttles.
The shuttles ran 6 to 12 miles per hour and traveled within the Canyon Village campground and adjoining visitor lodging area. Additionally, new real-time information under development via an application would notify visitors about road closures and parking space availability or provide a step-by-step guide to bus locations or rideshare for those wanting to leave their cars behind.
Yellowstone National Park, which has had a record number of visitors this year, is expected to see some of the most immediate changes, with other sites to follow.