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Intrinsic Qualities: Identification and Distinctions

On detailed analysis of the intrinsic qualities of the collection, there are great variations in individual byway identification among the six intrinsic qualities. Figure 5 shows the number of byways that have been designated for each intrinsic quality, along with the total potential number of byways[1]that have important resources for each quality, including those byways that were designated for a different intrinsic quality. The difference between the number of byways that are "designated" and "potential" for each intrinsic quality is an indication of the interrelatedness of the six qualities, and also suggests the degree to which the distribution of designated qualities is affected by the requirement that only one or two qualities be used for designation.

Figure 5: Designated vs. Potential Intrinsic Qualities
Bar chart showing number of byways designated for each intrinsic quality, and number of byways considered to have potential significance for each quality, as follows: Archaeological: designated - 2; potential - 26 Cultural: designated - 16; potential - 59 Historical: designated - 65; potential - 125 Natural: designated - 34; potential - 81 Recreational: designated - 22; potential - 122 Scenic: designated - 53; potential - 103

What at first appears a disparity quickly coalesces when the intrinsic qualities are grouped into two clusters: "land" (scenic, natural and recreational) and "people" (historic, cultural and archaeological).

Figure 6: Grouping Intrinsic Qualities: Scenic Byways and Heritage Byways
Bar chart showing number of byways designated for scenic or heritage qualities, and number of byways considered to have potential significance for such qualities, as follows: Scenic: designated - 97; potential - 135 Heritage: designated - 76; potential - 128
This clustering suggests two broad categories: those primarily associated with the land, and those primarily associated with people. These may also be categorized as "scenic" (land) and "heritage" (people) byways.

To illustrate this, Map 5 presents the America's Byways® collection in a modified view, combining the six intrinsic qualities into these two broader groups of byways designated for "land" qualities (natural, recreational and scenic) and "people" qualities (archeological, cultural and historic). One fact that is immediately apparent from this map is that the byways designated for People intrinsic qualities tend to be longer than those designated for Land qualities, and, in fact include most of the multi-state byways in the collection. This reflects that historic and cultural themes often involve both temporal and spatial movement and therefore can be less place-specific than natural resources and scenic views.

Map 5 : America's Byways® by Designated "Land" and "People" Intrinsic Qualities
Relief map of the United States depicting byways according to the cluster of intrinsic qualities for which they were designated: 'land', 'people' or both.
The legend accompanies the above relief map

The scenic and heritage/land and people clustering of intrinsic qualities may present new options for marketing and identifying two general byway types within the America's Byways® collection: scenic byways and heritage byways. These categories retain the term "scenic byway" for what it is most commonly associated in the mind of the general public—a pleasant and attractive drive. It establishes the term "heritage byway" to capture the intrinsic qualities associated most with people by using a term that has been employed by many existing State byways and a growing number of heritage corridors. Additionally, for the international visitors to the program, the term "heritage" is more generally used in the rest of the world to capture what in the United States is generally referred to as history or culture.

  1. Potential intrinsic qualities were determined by byway experts at the National Scenic Byways Online (NSBO) center in Utah. The determinations are subjective, but illustrative of the different interpretations regarding intrinsic quality assignment or identification for a particular byway.^ back

Updated: 9/3/2013
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