The fifteen issues outlined in this report are informed by program data, but influenced by observations and perceptions of the America's Byways® collection. Combining quantitative and qualitative analysis in this way has allowed for a more comprehensive understanding of the nation's byways. More importantly, goals and objectives for the future of the National Scenic Byways Program may be better informed.
The fifteen issues can generally be divided between issues principally focused on the overall collection and those principally focused on the individual byway corridors. They are summarized as follows:
These fifteen issues are interrelated and overlapping to various degrees. Nevertheless, focusing on each issue individually allows for consideration of specific program options that can then be combined in a variety of ways.
The issue papers have been designed to facilitate discussion of options for the Program to consider. Each paper consists of three parts: an issue statement and overview, observations regarding the issue and its relevance to byways, and options for the Program to consider when addressing the issue topic. To assist with this review, some of the issue papers also include supporting information or additional discussion, such as:
Options that might require a change to the statute authorizing the National Scenic Byways Program or to the Program's existing Interim Policy are identified as "statutory issue" and "policy issue", respectively. Each issue paper concludes with a table indicating cross-references to other papers in this report that address complementary or related issues.
Each of the fifteen issue papers is presented as a single-focus discussion, without attempting to balance multiple objectives. This approach is intended to provide clearer perspectives on the individual components and needs of the Program. One consequence of this approach is that there are points of both convergence and conflict among the fifteen papers. The purpose of the papers is not to dwell on these intersections, but to consider each issue on its own. Reviewing all fifteen issue papers and weighing the merits of the individual components provides a broad foundation for evaluating the available options and determining which of these options should be adopted or recommended in order to enhance the Program's administrative structure and enhance the quality of the America's Byways® collection.
In 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) amended the National Scenic Byways Program to allow the nomination of America's Byways® by Indian tribes, and to make Indian tribes, projects on Indian tribe scenic byways, and Indian tribe scenic byway programs eligible for funding. Because of this relatively new addition, discussion of Indian tribe byways in these papers is somewhat limited, and further research and evaluation may be necessary in regard to special issues they may present relative to assessing and sustaining quality as part of the America's Byways® collection.
Whenever possible, byway observations and options addressed in these papers have identified issues for consideration by Indian tribe byways and Indian tribe byway coordinators. In many instances, however, the existing NSBP program data used to generate some of the analysis for these fifteen papers has only been collected, to date, at the State level. As a result, some analyses are based solely on State data.