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Simulation Modeling for Guiding Management of Transportation and Recreation in Parks and on Public Lands: Building Foundational Expertise

Principal Investigator: Robert Manning
Funding Agency: USDOT

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to build foundational research expertise in integrated land use and transportation modeling for tourism travel and outdoor recreation. Transportation and recreation are inherently connected and complex systems. Transportation behaviors, like walking and driving, are often done for recreation. In providing access to and mobility within recreation settings, transportation networks serve as recreational facilities and are influential elements of settings’ carrying capacities and qualities. Simulation modeling has been a productive tool for understanding transportation and recreation complexity. Borrowing from the transportation field, outdoor recreation researchers have applied simulation models to park and public land management. Advances in simulation modeling for transportation integrate spatial data with microsimulation in ways that may replicate recreation behavior and systems substantially better than previous models. Such simulation models can be effective and necessary management tools in the face of intense visitor use and resource protection pressures. The University of Vermont’s Park Studies Laboratory (PSL) and Applied Trails Research (ATR) propose a collaborative and integrated program of research to build foundational expertise in simulation modeling for parks and public lands. By developing demonstration and case study models, the PSL and ATR will further the application of simulation modeling to satisfy demand for transportation and recreation management.