Multimodal Access to Tourist Attractions

In accordance with the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST) of 2015, DVRPC has been evaluating multimodal access to tourist destinations in Greater Philadelphia. The tourism and hospitality industry represents a growing part of the region's economy. Each dollar spent by travelers generates additional expenditures in indirect spending and is indirectly responsible for the creation of numerous additional jobs. Published in 2017, DVRPC's Hospitality & Tourism Data Snapshot [3.82 MB pdf] illustrates the economic impact of the tourism industry. The region's tourist attractions are generally well served by the existing transportation network, and numerous improvements in recent years have enhanced the ability of tourists to access these destinations.

Reasons for traveling can be for leisure, visiting friends or family, or job-related. To keep visitors returning to the region, it is important to make sure that tourist attractions are easily accessible through a variety of transportation modes. DVRPC published an initial report on the importance of tourism and accessibility in 1997, How Do We Get There? [20.1 MB pdf].

DVRPC's focus in the tourism space is ensuring multimodal accessibility to tourist attractions to ensure a positive experience for the visitor. Approximately 58% of the region's economic impact of tourism occurs in the City of Philadelphia, followed by Bucks and Montgomery counties but how are visitors getting to these attractions outside Center City? Are they accessible via transit or trail? In 2018, DVRPC compiled information about how visitors were accessing the region's 278 tourist attractions. Published in 2019, Evaluating Access to Tourist Attractions in Greater Philadelphia [4.1 MB pdf] includes a survey conducted to regional tourist attractions about accessibility, as well as an analysis of how different attractions promote multimodal transportation options.

Tourist Attraction Connection

Explore Visitor Attraction Connectivity in the map below. Select an option from the dropdown menu to update the Visitor Attractions on the map.

Traveler Accommodations and Accessibility

Prior to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the tourism and hospitality industry represented a growing part of Greater Philadelphia’s economy. As such, staff evaluated how the locations and scale of the region’s primary tourist destinations, the number of employees working in hospitality and tourism, and a change in travel patterns may have impacted this sector. This report quantifies the pandemic’s impact(s) on a specific sector of the region’s hospitality and tourism industry, the traveler accommodations sector, which includes companies within the 7211 four-digit North American Industry Classification System [NAICS] code such as hotels, motels, casino hotels, bed and breakfast inns, guest houses, housekeeping cottages and cabins, and youth hostels. An analysis of three standard metrics within the traveler accommodations sector—occupancy rates, average daily rate (ADR), and revenue per available room (RevPAR)—will demonstrate how tourists’ locational preferences for traveler accommodations changed during the pandemic, and leave the region with points to consider as it enters into a period of post-pandemic economic recovery

Ferry Service Feasibility

Greater Philadelphia has a long history of ferries dating back to the 17th century. Prior to bridges, tunnels, and expressways, ferries were essential to move throughout the region and played a key role in the formation of towns and cities. During the 20th century, however, the development of bridges like the Ben Franklin Bridge (1926), Tacony-Palmyra Bridge (1929), and the Walt Whitman Bridge (1957) led to the decline of ferry services in the region (Nepa 2015).

Previously evaluated in 2007, potential ferry service identified opportunities for new ferry service between Gloucester County and points of interest in Pennsylvania. The potential benefits and challenges outlined in the 2007 study include an alternative form of transportation, reduced air pollution and congestion, increased connectivity, and support for existing and new development. Potential challenges include parking availability, increased traffic in local communities, the competitive cost of driving, access to Center City Philadelphia, and funding.

To further enhance the accessibility of tourist destinations between Old City and the New Jersey portion of the region, staff explored the feasibility of adding a seasonal ferry service as an additional transportation option to promote tourism. Published in November 2022, the exploratory report includes potential scenario trips and evaluates service feasibility based on infrastructure, accessibility, costs, travel time, and environmental factors.

Off-Peak: Assessing the Hospitality and Tourism Industry's Recovery from COVID-19

This webinar featured a panel of experts who will discuss how demand has changed from the pandemic-related shutdowns to today; labor shortages, particularly in accommodation/food services and hotels/motels; low occupational wage; necessary skills for employees and how those are evolving; and A.I. and automation’s current and future impact on entry- and mid-level employment.

View webinar - recorded June 21, 2023.