Workshop Report - Summary Section
On Friday December 16, 2005, sixty-one people from throughout the Yellowstone-Teton region met at Grand Targhee Resort to explore the past, present, and future of transportation in the Yellowstone-Teton region. The workshop resulted in three products:
- Identification of critical success factors for increased mobility
- Identification of restraining forces that will tend to work against greater mobility
- Formation of a small working group to build on the workshop results
The path forward for the working group will be to propose a business plan that supports the critical success factors and overcomes the restraining forces. Calling the next step a business plan reflects a great deal of discussion that day about how to make a set of transportation links and services viable – the market and business model must be well understood. Viability will be measured by the fact that the services are utilized and supported by communities, employers, government, and tourists.
It was generally agreed that if a regional system is to be successful it will require an attractive mix of air transit, ground transit, pathways, and private vehicles. The tipping point for viability will be that this mix of elements and their seamless integration creates such an attractive new option for moving around that it will often be the first choice for mobility.
No one at the workshop had any illusions though about the substantial restraining forces that will work against an integrated system of regional transportation links. Frankly the market does not currently exist except in a few isolated cases where tourism would be reduced without transportation alternatives (Teton County Wyoming), or where rural transit and social services funding are subsidizing a mish-mash of private and a few public providers.
On the positive side, the workshop dug into how the nation’s transportation system evolved from an early 20th century mix of rail, trolleys, and automobiles to the current day system that is almost totally dependent on air transit and private vehicles. Understanding this evolution and the economic and social realities that support it are critical if one is to create an alternative.
There was also considerable discussion about the role of funding and where it fits in the process. To many the usual starting point for this type of discussion is whether or not funding can be identified. While no one can deny the absolute necessity of adequate resources, the workshop at least posited that funding is really a secondary issue. Funding availability is actually a matter of priorities. The focus of the work is in establishing strong regional for making an integrated transportation system a priority.
And finally, it was generally agreed that some of the transportation needs being addressed have a lack affordable housing as a root cause.
If you would like to review additional information about the workshop please use the following links:
Download a complete copy of this report in Microsoft Word format.
The pre-workshop information package is also available. It contains information on existing public transit systems, state funding levels, the workshop process, and additional background data.
The annotated flip charts created at the workshop give some insight into the flow of the meeting. Due to the way it is configured, this file should be viewed using the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser for the links to function. Also, some of the graphics files are over 500 KB, so loading may be slow on a dial up connection.