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Transportation Introduction

Transportation is defined as means of conveyance or travel from one place to another. Transportation is essential for community development, no matter if the community is as large as a sprawling metropolitan area or as small as a residential development. Accessibility and circulation is basic to human survival and can be as simple as a walking path or as complex as a metropolitan multi-modal network which includes vehicular, train, subway, biking, walking, and air transportation. The Fort Hall Indian Reservation’s community's transportation system is a vital component of all daily operations and aspects of life. The transportation system also constitutes a major portion of the tribal budget, including: vehicle purchases and maintenance; road design, construction and maintenance; and management of these operations.


transportation systems, land use, and economic activities are interdependent. The way in which the residents of the community use the land determines, to a great extent, the number and variety of trips occurring on the transportation system. On the other hand, the location and quality of transportation facilities influence the development of land and the location of major activities by connecting people with these activities.

Community Profile History

The ancestors of the Shoshone and Bannock people now living on the reservation ranged over great areas of what is now the inland northwestern United States and Canada, east into  the Great Plains and south into the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau.  Typically bands would form to take advantage of the various resource opportunities found in different areas, moving with the seasons. For hundreds, perhaps thousands of years the ancestors  would base themselves in the Portneuf, Boise, Bruneau, Blackfoot, Lemhi and Snake River Valley areas, wintering there and using it as their base for the rest of the year.    Traditional subsistence use of natural resources persists to this day, particularly fish and wildlife, but also a wide variety of plants.  Traditional hunting and gathering activities are not limited to the reservation but extended throughout much of the aboriginal territory of the Shoshone and Bannock peoples.


                The Peoples who lived in the region of the present Fort Hall Indian Reservation were in the main hunters and gatherers from the earliest times.  Studies on file with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes refer to very early hunting camp sites discovered throughout the great basin and Columbia Plateau area.  The earliest include large buffalo kills and numerous early sites where large numbers of mountain sheep and elk were butchered dried and eaten.  Archaeological evidence shows that the entire Great Basin and Columbia Plateau supported established populations of hunter-gatherers.[1]


[1] From the History section of the Comprehensive Plan Draft 2006

Transportation Influences

There are several major transportation influences on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, due to the varied activities within the reservation.  Passenger vehicles’ driving to and from work makes up a major portion of the traffic on reservation roads on a daily basis.  There is a high volume of traffic on Highway 91 during peak hours before work in the morning and after work in the late afternoon.  With the reservation being between two major employment areas, the Cities of Pocatello and Blackfoot, as well as the large amount of employment at the Fort Hall agency area, there is significant traffic during peak periods. 
Agricultural activities also constitute a large portion of transportation on the reservation.  During the farming season, there is a significant farm usage of most roads within the Indian Reservation Roads Program, of large farm hauling trucks, tractors pulling implements, and farm workers going from field to field on a daily basis.

With the Interstate crossing the reservation in two directions (I-15 & I-86) and three Interstate exits within the reservation, there is also a high volume of traffic within these general exit areas.  The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes has constructed truck stops at each of the three exits that are heavily used by those from the Interstate, as well as the local community

Governmental Responsibilities & Coordination

Transportation administration is a complex task requiring close coordination between various governmental agencies in order to perform the interrelated administrative and operational functions of planning, managing, constructing and maintaining the system.


At least four levels of government (Federal, State, local, and tribal) interact to administer the transportation system serving the community. Administrative functions differ between levels of government because of differences in responsibilities. Agencies have been established within each of these governmental levels to deal specifically with these administrative responsibilities.


The Federal Government has a wide variety of administrative responsibilities pertaining to highway transportation, including the administration of the Highway Trust Fund and other designated transportation funds, safety standards, regulations, and other programs and services required by law. Most of the administrative responsibilities for highway transportation rest with the Federal Highway Administrative (FHWA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Implementation of these Federal policies and programs is usually carried out by other Federal agencies, or by agencies at the state or local levels.


The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), a part of the Department of the Interior, is one of the Federal agencies charged with implementing basic DOT and FHWA policy on the reservation. This charge is carried out by the Bureau through its Transportation Division in Albuquerque, the BIA Northwest Region Area Roads Engineer, through the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Department of Transportation and the Tribal Governing Board

Our Purpose

  • Improve the maintenance of existing road network.

  • Upgrade and improve road segments.

  • Increase the safety of the road network.

  • Develop a multi-modal network which includes trails.

  • Develop new roads in coordination with community and economic development.

  • Increase transit oriented opportunities.

  • Increase transportation funding opportunities.

Indian Reservation Roads

Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) are public roads that are located within or provide access to Indian reservation or Indian trust land or restricted Indian land that is not subject to fee title alienation without the approval of the Federal Government. The IRR system,  therefore, includes BIA, Tribal, state and county roads and bridges which are integral to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.

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