Carol A. Zimmerman (Battelle), Thomas G. Coleman (Battelle), John Daigle (University of Maine)
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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.
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Acadia National Park, a part of the U.S. National Parks System, covers 35,000 acres on the coast of Maine. Most of Acadia is on Mount Desert Island where park land is interspersed with private property associated with numerous towns including Bar Harbor. The park attracts more than 200 million recreational visits annually, with most visits occurring in the summer. Many visitors stay overnight in hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and campgrounds. Tourism is the mainstay of the economy on Mount Desert Island.

About 90 percent of visitors arrive in the park by private vehicle with the result that congestion is often a problem on routes into the park and at parking lots. Noise and air pollution problems are also associated with the traffic. In 1999, to relieve congestion, Acadia National Park began offering free bus service during the peak summer months over six routes connecting local towns and park property. The bus service has been very successful. To further reduce the problems associated with park traffic, Acadia was chosen for an ITS Field Operational Test (FOT). The FOT involved the deployment of nine ITS components to provide real-time traveler information to travelers to road and bus users. Bus components included two-way voice communications, automatic vehicle location, electronic bus departure signs, automated annunciators on-board buses, and automatic passenger counters. Traffic management components included parking lot monitoring and traffic volume recorders at Park entrances. Deployment of the ITS components took place over a two year period beginning in 2000. This lesson is based on the findings presented in a national evaluation of the Acadia ITS FOT.
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Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT
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An Evaluation of Acadia National Park ITS Field Operational Test: Final Report
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