YELLOWSTONE — In May, the National Park Service (NPS) will launch a pilot at Yellowstone National Park to test low-speed, electric, automated vehicle (AV) shuttle technology within the Canyon Village campground, visitor services, and adjoining visitor lodging area.
The goal is to understand how AV shuttle technology can be used in parks and how visitors perceive and engage these services, according to the Yellowstone website. The data from this pilot will help guide long-term management decisions regarding transportation in national parks.
Two AV shuttles arrived in Yellowstone on April 19, according to the Yellowstone National Park Facebook page.
“Teams will spend the next month training, mapping, and preparing for their launch on May 24,” the Facebook post said.
The AV shuttles will transport people from campgrounds and hotels to the restaurants and visitor centers in Canyon Village. Each shuttle will have its own on-board attendant who will monitor safety and can take over the shuttle operation at any time.
In response to why Yellowstone was chosen to test this technology, the website explains: “In 2019, Yellowstone was the sixth-most visited national park in the United States with more than 4 million visits. Due to its remoteness and popularity, the NPS selected Yellowstone to explore opportunities to advance our goals related to emerging mobility and better plan for the future of transportation.”
The nps.gov website gives more information on the shuttle routes from May to August, safety information related to the AV technology, COVID-19 precautions that will be in place, and answers to common questions related to testing the new technology.