The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, is the most visited national park in the United States. This rugged, mountainous area presents many transportation challenges. The immense popularity of the Smokies and the fact that the primary mode of transportation within the park is the personal vehicle have resulted in congestion, damage to the environment, impacts on safety, and a degraded visitor experience. Access to some of the Smokies historical, cultural, and recreational attractions via a mass transit system could alleviate many of the transportation issues. Although quite a few organizations are proponents of a mass transit system for the Smokies, there is a lack of coordination among all parties. In addition, many local residents are not completely comfortable with the idea of transit in the Smokies. This document provides a brief overview of the current transportation needs and limitations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, identifies agencies and groups with particular interests in the Smokies, and offers insights into the benefits of using Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies in the Smokies. Recommendations for the use of rural ITS transit to solve two major transportation issues are presented.
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