A survey of visitors to the Acadia National Park in Maine found that more than 80 percent who experienced on-board next-stop announcements and real-time bus departure signs agreed these technologies made it easier to get around.
Made Public Date

Maine, United States

Acadia National Park: Maine,
United States

An Evaluation of Acadia National Park ITS Field Operational Test: Final Report

Summary Information

This final report incorporates the results of seven different individual test reports that examine customer satisfaction associated with the deployment ITS at the Acadia National Park, in Maine. The park is visited by an increasing number of people each year, exceeding 2.5 million annually in 2002. The overall objective of the field operational test was to provide more timely and accurate traveler information to visitors regarding the Island Explorer free shuttle bus service, improve shuttle bus operations, reduce parking lot congestion and improve aesthetics and safety by decreasing the number of vehicles parked alongside roads, and enhance the growing tourist economy with improved mobility.


The following objectives and ITS applications were detailed in the report:

Disseminate accurate and timely information to visitors regarding on-site parking, bus arrival and departure times, and on-board transit status information.
  • Real-time bus departure electronic message signs were installed at the Visitor Center and the Jordan Pond House bus stops, and at the Village Green in Bar Harbor.
  • Automated on-board next-stop annunciators were installed on each Island Explorer bus.
  • Parking information was made available on the Acadia website (This parking information was available for a limited amount of time during the post-deployment evaluation period).
Assist Park Service managers and rangers with congestion management, mobility, and emergency response.
  • Automatic vehicle/ranger geo-location applications (planned but not deployed).
  • Entrance traffic volume recorders (planned but not deployed).
  • Parking lot monitoring devices (planned but not deployed, manual counts were collected instead to provide parking lot status information for two of the most popular parking lots).
Improve operations for the Island Explorer free shuttle bus service.
  • Island Explorer two-way voice communications were installed on buses.
  • GPS Automatic vehicle locator (AVL) system.
  • On-board automatic passenger counters (APC).
Enhance tourist economy
  • Real-time transit status signs and parking information were installed to reduce congestion, improve mobility, and allow visitors to manage time to visit local businesses.


Post-deployment data were collected during the summer tourist season of 2002. Mail-back questionnaires and interviews were used to measure impacts of ITS on customer satisfaction.

A visitor survey was conducted on the Island Explorer and at a number of selected sites within the Park from July 29 to September 1, 2002. These interviews along with a more extensive mail-back questionnaire were offered to visitors in order to garner more specific information on visitor awareness, use, and experience with ITS technologies at the Park. A total of 1278 adults agreed to the mail-back survey, and 928 usable questionnaires were returned for a 74 percent response rate.



  • More than 80 percent of visitors surveyed indicated the real-time bus departure signs and the on-board next-stop announcements made it easier for them to get around. Sixty-nine (69) to 80 percent of visitors believed the ITS helped save them time.


Goal Areas
Deployment Locations