The distinctive characteristics of the National Scenic Byways Program and the diversity of the America's Byways® collection present special challenges for analyzing program activities and accomplishments. A program designed to identify and recognize national and regional resources through the six intrinsic qualities found on and along the nation's highways and byways requires new methods and approaches to measure success. The diversity of routes, resources, and regions raises a wide array of questions:
Most importantly, can the National Scenic Byways Program, through voluntary State and Indian tribe programs dependent on local community initiatives and partnerships, both represent the diversity of America's intrinsic qualities and maintain a quality system - and is it doing so?
Collected byway data make it possible to analyze the Program through geography, presence of intrinsic qualities, route distance, projects, and funding. These are useful attributes for identifying the similarities and differences among the designated byway routes, and can also help reveal broad trends or subtle omissions within the collection. However, statistics and quantitative analysis alone are not sufficient to assess the quality of the system or the perceptions of its users. Such an assessment must also incorporate a more qualitative analysis based on the stated goals of the National Scenic Byways Program, field observations, and knowledge of community commitment.