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Recommendation 2: Establish Goal and Progress Reporting

Why do it:

Establish an expectation that all byways should demonstrate some measurable progress each year and encourage byway groups to think more carefully about their annual work plans. A clear record of previous progress, and the likely pace of future work, will make it easier for byways to update their corridor management plans on a regular basis. This will also provide important information for future grant expenditure reporting and ensure that byways recognize that their performance must be professional. Finally, these steps will enhance general oversight and reporting for the grant program.

How to do it:

  1. The Program should establish an annual goal setting and progress evaluation process. While this must be a simple process, it must be sufficiently comprehensive to allow for better Program and byway evaluation and tracking. Attached to this recommendation is an example of a sample form that could be used by all byways to collect and report this information. As presented, this one page form summarizes the previous year's goals, progress made on those goals, and the identification of new goals for the coming year. By a specified date, each byway would complete the form and submit it to the State or Indian tribe byway coordinator. The coordinator would submit a package organized for his or her State or Indian tribe to FHWA's Washington, D. C. office. The process could also be done online with a form organized to allow for easy data coding and analysis. The compiled forms will provide a simple annual record of the status of work along each byway, while the public nature of this reporting process will remind all byway groups (and byway coordinators) that there are Program expectations for forward movement for each designated byway corridor.
  2. Require the preparation of annual grant status and performance reports. The purpose of this report will be to efficiently assemble information from all byways identifying the status of grant-funded projects on which they are working and the estimated completion of those projects. As with the annual goal setting and progress evaluation process, this form should be simple (an online form would be sufficient) but comprehensive. The key recommended information to be captured through this reporting process is presented in the sample form at the end of this section. These forms would be submitted to the Program staff and compiled into an annual report on the Program.
  3. Prepare an annual progress report for the Program. The information gathered in the above two steps will provide important content for this report and will significantly improve communication with State and Indian tribe byway coordinators and local byways. This report will offer a regular record of the Program's movement forward, both structurally and fiscally, and offer an important public statement of the status of activity along America's Byways®.

The annual report for the National Scenic Byways Program should consist of the following contents:

  1. Summary of Designation Round (if applicable)
    List new byways with basic description of each one.
  2. Summary of Grants Awarded (if applicable)
    Provide information on grant categories awarded, listing by State/Indian tribe.
  3. Summary of Performance of Grant Funded Projects
    List of completed projects, evaluation information on completion and efficiencies obtained by State, by Indian tribe and by category.
  4. Summary of Program Initiatives
    Efforts undertaken and accomplishments.
  5. Summary of America's Byways Resource Center Initiatives
    Efforts undertaken and accomplishments.

4. Capture better information on the categories of grants that are awarded. Consideration should be given to modifying the definition of allowable projects under each grant category in order to more accurately define/associate each project with its most applicable eligibility category. Specifically, the very broad corridor management planning and implementation category should be narrowed in order to prevent its use for non-planning projects.

Alternatively, a post-award, internal Program review and categorization of all grants would help Program staff to analyze and track various types of projects funding. Defining each project funded by the most relevant category will help staff understand and evaluate grant management. For example, if an applicant seeks funding for a marketing project, but applies under the corridor management plan implementation category, this internal project tagging will allow staff to track the project as a marketing effort, not a corridor management planning effort.

Sample Goal Setting and Performance Report

  1. List the annual work goals that your byway defined last year. If you did not define goals last year, state the basic types of work that your byway pursued last year.
  2. Concisely describe your progress toward those annual goals during the past year.
  3. List your most important goals for the upcoming year.

Sample Grant Status and Performance Report

Current Projects

List any National Scenic Byways Program-funded projects that you are currently working on. Include project identification number. Describe the status of each project and its general percent of completion.

Completed Projects

Provide the following information for any grant-funded projects that you completed during the last year:

Project name: __________________________

Original funding request: $__________

Grant amount: $__________

Final total project cost: $__________

What amount did you spend? $__________

Source, amount and type of matching funds received
Source of match Match amount Type of match

Describe any major financial challenges associated with completing this project:

Describe any unforeseen implementation challenges (permitting, labor, legal) associated with completing this project:

Planned Projects

For what types of projects and in what amounts are you considering seeking funding in the next 1-5 years?

Updated: 9/3/2013
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