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Assessing the Perceived Impact on Residents’ Quality of Life Based on the Proposed Implementation of a Voluntary Shuttle System in West Yellowstone, MT

Authors: Carter Bermingham*, University of Montana
Topics: Tourism Geography, Recreational and Sport Geography
Keywords: Quality of life, importance-performance, Yellowstone National Park, attitudes, tourist development, alternative transportation systems, residents
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The goal of this paper is to assess the current perceived quality of life of residents in West Yellowstone, MT and how residents perceive their quality of life could be impacted by the implementation of a voluntary shuttle system in the western road corridor (Old Faithful to West Yellowstone) of Yellowstone National Park. Annual visitation to the park has increased more than 40% over the past ten years to a historic level of use with 4.2 million visitors in 2016. This increase in visitation has presented familiar challenges to the National Park Service, such as crowding at popular attractions and congestion on roadways. Alternative forms of transportation have been implemented in other national parks to help mitigate issues that arise from increased park visitation, such as Yosemite National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Zion National Park. Although many research efforts have been conducted to understand the visitor experience as it relates to the use of shuttles in national park systems, few research efforts have focused on the impact shuttle systems have on the associated gateway community. Using the analysis framework of importance-performance to measure quality of life, a door-to-door survey collection with drop-off and pick-up was conducted in the summer of 2019, focusing on residents of West Yellowstone who live within the incorporated town boundary. Results show residents’ perceptions about the importance of specific characteristics in their community, how satisfied they are with those characteristics, and the perceived impact a voluntary shuttle system would have on those characteristics.

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