When I imagine myself visiting Acadia National Park fifty years from now, I arrive in a public space shuttle, having just come from my lovely vacation home on the Moon. I step outside of my vehicle, and hop onto a hoverbus headed to Jordan Pond, where I will enjoy my tea outside while thinking to myself, “By golly, has transportation changed around here!”.
Okay, okay. So, maybe that’s a bit far-fetched. Let’s rewind: fifty years from now, I arrive at Acadia National Park from my vacation home in Canada by bullet-train, and jump on the bus to Jordan Pond House for scones and tea.
Sound far-fetched? Perhaps not…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Acadia National Park, Acadia National Park provides free public transportation for visitors–a little something we like to call the Island Explorer Shuttle Bus. Personally, I was shocked to see such a progressive system in place.
If you are like me, you have grown up in a society where cars are not simply a luxury, rather a necessity if you would like to have any independence whatsoever. Sure, I ride my bike during the school semester, walk when I can, and love taking the train…but other than that, I drive. Psst, and I consider myself “green”.
It appears that members of the Federal Government have begun to understand this very conundrum. They also understand that road congestion is no fun for the average national park visitor. As a result, the Code of Federal Regulation states that parks and other public lands should make an effort to reduce private travel and encourage people to travel using public transportation. National parks are told that they need to use funds to establish public and sustainable means of transportation.
And the results of this are…? Well, the Island Explorer Bus, for one. But I’m hoping that’s just the beginning of it.
It sounds like I will not be disappointed. In fact, researchers from the University of Vermont are in the field this summer trying to understand what motivates people to travel like they do… is it related to money? Convenience? Enjoyment? And what motivations correlate with using the shuttle bus verses a car verses a bicycle?
How do you roll and what motivates you to do so? Or, even better: how can someone get you to do the green thing? Its a difficult question. Why would someone choose to give up their sense of independence to catch the 1:30 bus to Sand Beach? “Being green” and avoiding traffic congestion don’t seem to be motivation enough to encourage major reductions in the number of car users in the park. But, researchers are trying to pinpoint other motivations that will.
Me–I’m hoping that the hoverbus is not so far off in the future…but I’ll gladly take the shuttle bus in the meantime.
Planning a trip to Acadia NP? Use the Route Finder to find the right bus to get you where you want to go! For more on the Island Explorer Shuttle Bus, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.exploreacadia.com or http://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/bus.htm.