GREENVILLE, S.C., March 15, 2016 ─ Tourists visiting the wilds and wide-open skies of Yellowstone National Park each summer are often frustrated by traffic jams, animal jams and other exasperating clogs that sometimes rival the gridlock of any urban city.
The Michelin Corporate Foundation has announced a grant for Yellowstone and its nonprofit partner, Yellowstone Forever, that aims eventually to break through Yellowstone’s extensive congestion issues, and support the park’s broader efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions from all vehicles.
With so many cars, campers, trucks and buses coursing through the park’s two-lane roads, even one roaming buffalo can cause hours of painful delays. Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, is known as America’s iconic driving destination for the summer family road trip. The parks posted an annual visitation increase of more than 21 percent a year in a recent three-year period, surpassing 4 million visitors carried by nearly 1.5 million vehicles for the first time in 2015.
Michelin and Yellowstone have launched the “Sustainable Mobility and Tourism Project” with research partners A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm, and Sagility, a worldwide leader in logistical solutions through virtual simulation.
“The timing of the Michelin Corporate Foundation’s ‘Sustainable Mobility and Tourism Project’ could not be better for the park,” said Ryan Atwell, the social science coordinator for Yellowstone National Park. “Right now, the Michelin Foundation is pioneering cutting-edge analyses that will support the park’s long-term planning to address this critical issue.”
The Michelin Corporate Foundation’s initiatives will build on the park’s ongoing research, including an extensive visitor survey and a collection of park-wide transportation data. Michelin’s sustainable mobility initiative brings private-sector expertise to address public-sector challenges that will benefit the national park for families in generations to come.
The study initially focuses on Yellowstone’s popular Canyon Village area, the epicenter for the park’s worst crowding and congestion. In Canyon Village, overflowing or closed parking lots lead directly to vehicles parked on shoulders, encroaching on traffic lanes, impacting natural vegetation and creating hazards for visitors. Waiting lines for bathrooms often stretch 20 to 40 people long. A.T. Kearney’s analysis of social media chatter reveals concerns expressed about crowding and the impact of all that traffic on the park’s sensitive ecosystem.
The Foundation’s Sustainable Mobility and Tourism Project will evaluate feasibility and impact of possible solutions, such as alternative transit options in the park, low- and zero-emission public shuttles, self-service bike stations, higher capacity buses, visitor education, as well as new strategies for roadways, restrooms, parking, entrance metering, and entrance reservations.
In collaboration with Belgium-based Sagility, the Michelin Corporate Foundation will deliver a sophisticated and scientific simulation to identify the optimal approach to manage growing visitation, to protect the park’s resources for future generations, and to provide an enjoyable and memorable visitor experience.
Sagility’s traffic-simulation models will focus on the Canyon Village. When complete later this year, the simulations that will allow park managers to visualize and test scenarios to reduce congestion and to improve traffic flow. Understanding the real-world impacts will guide future decision-making beyond Canyon Village and across the park.
About Michelin Corporate Foundation
The Michelin Corporate Foundation was created in January 2014 on the initiative of Mr. Jean-Dominique Senard, President of the Michelin Group. education and the community, protecting the environment and heritage and the arts. sport and health, In line with the commitments and values of the Group, the Foundation operates in five areas: Sustainable mobility, The activities of the Foundation follow a signature theme of “Helping people move forward” and seek to promote long-term projects in all the countries where Michelin is present.
About Yellowstone Forever
Yellowstone Forever – formerly the Yellowstone Association and Yellowstone Park Foundation—is Yellowstone National Park’s official fundraising and educational nonprofit partner. Yellowstone Forever’s combined operations include 11 educational Park Stores with gross sales of over $4.9 million; the Yellowstone Forever Institute, which offers more than 600 in-depth programs each year; a supporter program of over 50,000 Yellowstone enthusiasts raising funds to support critical park priority projects; and an online community of more than 300,000 worldwide. For more information, visit www.yellowstoneforever.org.
About A.T. Kearney
A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world's foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit www.atkearney.com.
Sagility is a leading innovator in applying virtual simulation in the design, validation and operations of complex logistical systems. Sagility helps its clients adapt to ever changing circumstances by providing them accurate visibility into the future. For more information, visit www.sagility.be.