Recommendation 4: Integrate the Concept of Enhancing Byway Quality into Corridor Management Planning, Grants, Performance Reports, Re-designation and Marketing
- Establish a more integrated approach to byway policies and programs.
- Raise awareness for the interdependence of marketing and promotion on resource protection and conservation.
- Ensure that grants provide the maximum benefit to the byway by demonstrating the comprehensive benefits of each funded project.
Why do it:
Currently, many byways focus on establishing the significance of their intrinsic qualities at the time they prepare their nomination. For some byways, the issues and needs of the identified intrinsic qualities can drift to the background of priorities once designation is secured. There is little discussion in corridor management planning, or in the Program overall, focusing on the long-term quality of the byway experience for the visitor, or on enhancing the nature of the intrinsic qualities over time. Is the overall experience of driving, exploring, learning, dining, lodging, and recreating along a byway a high quality association with the identified intrinsic qualities? Are their gaps and inconsistencies that can be improved, such as excessive marketing without resource protection, or unattractive service centers/visitor facilities in areas of immense scenic beauty? The quality of the Program can only improve if the quality of the identified resources is well-managed and the quality of the visitor's experience and interaction with the byway's intrinsic qualities is continually monitored and enhanced when needed.
How to do it:
- Prepare a report card for byway quality . A report card process should not be long or onerous, but it should be thought provoking. The foundations for this material largely exist within the scenic byways community. Use the organizational, intrinsic quality, and financial sustainability criteria from the America's Byways Resource Center's Power Workshop series as one part of this report card. FHWA could prepare a set of Visitor Quality Indicators. Clarify a process by which byways can objectively look at their visitor experience and visitor infrastructure and assess the quality of their route. When byways do these exercises, the result should be a relatively objective "grade" that can help a byway understand how well it is functioning. These report cards should be completed periodically and presented to State or Indian tribe byway coordinators. They can then review the findings and work with byway groups to enhance their quality. The findings from this assessment should inform corridor management plan updates and annual progress reports.
- Require a general statement of grant applicability to the byway's Land or People focus. All grant requests should include a statement indicating the larger corridor benefit of the project. Grants should reference specific goals and objectives outlined in the corridor management plan or the corridor management plan update. Such statements need not be lengthy, but should demonstrate that a comprehensive approach to the byway is a part of the individual request. A safety improvement, for example, is not just to reduce accidents, but is a response to an area of intense wildlife activity—causing motorists to be distracted. A marketing program, for example, designed to promote shoulder-season travel to reduce the visitor impact on a fragile eco-system, or avoid mating or migration patterns. An educational brochure, for example, that not only tells the history of the region, but also provides opportunities to contribute to a historic preservation fund or hands-on restoration projects. Grant requests that have no existing reference to the corridor management plan or plan update, should include a supplemental corridor management plan update to demonstrate the relevance of the grant to new or updated needs for the corridor.