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Task 2 Options

Task 2, Identify and Recommend Strategies for Maintaining and Ensuring the Quality of America's Byways®, identified the largest number of options. The above five objectives were applied to the full spectrum of ideas presented in Task 2. As a result of this review, it was clear that some options were preferable while others warranted further study based on Program needs and goals. Table 1 presents each issue identified in Task 2 and the recommended "preferred options." Additionally, the alternate ideas from Task 2 are also presented for review and consideration ("alternate options") as they may enhance or support the preferred options. Table 2 provides the complementary review for the ideas and analyses from the Tasks 1 and 3 reports. Thus, Tables 1 and 2 together present a full summary of the major ideas generated by this project, which were used to guide this report's final primary recommendations (For a full and comprehensive analysis, please review Tasks 1, 2, and 3). For both tables, supplemental notes are provided for additional clarity.

Table 1: Task Two Options - Preferred and Alternate
Issue Preferred Options Alternate Options
Landscape Diversity: Defining sufficient geographic diversity within the collection
  • Survey coordinators and staff regarding knowledge of all intrinsic qualities and potential bias toward scenic qualities.
  • Review gaps within landscapes and physiographic regions.
  • Encourage the designation of long distance routes to expand landscape diversity.
  • Establish an expert panel on landscape and physiographic diversity.

NOTE: The expert panel option, while potentially advisory in nature, involves a "top-down" approach. The preferred options are integrated into an approach that uses State, Indian tribe and local byway groups to evaluate their own landscapes and physiographic regions.

States and Tribes without Byways: Clarifying reasons for States' and Indian tribes' participation levels in the National Scenic Byways Program
  • Continue existing policy; not all States or Indian tribes are required to participate.
  • Consider partnerships with existing designated byways or touring routes in states without byways programs.
  • Survey States without byway programs to determine reasons.

NOTE: The preferred options approach this issue by having informal conversations with non-participating states to clarify their current thinking on the Program. A process is recommended for involving non-participating states by thinking of new ways to partner byways with other similar resources.

  • Require all States and Tribes to participate in the Program.
  • Determine if interested groups in States not participating in the National Scenic Byways Program have awareness and access to the program.
  • Invite groups from non-participating States and Tribes to advance byway nominations.
  • Invite direct applications from eligible potential byways in States or Tribes not participating in the Program.

NOTE: The underlying tone of these alternate options is that some States, Indian tribes and local groups in under-represented states and non-participating states are somehow not fully aware of the Program. The alternate options suggest actions should be taken by the Program to directly contact these local groups rather than relying on their individual interest or initiative to pursue participation in the Program.

Byway and resource density: Not all regions have comparable densities of byways
  • Evaluate regions to determine if intrinsic qualities are well represented.
  • Evaluate regions to determine whether defined intrinsic qualities are accessible to the traveler.
  • Combine a multiple byways with complementary or shared intrinsic qualities into single byways.
  • Discourage new byways that repeat existing intrinsic qualities within a region.

NOTE: This report recommends allowing states to define for themselves if repeated intrinsic qualities are desirable.

Byway categories: Six intrinsic qualities do not adequately reflect the diversity of the Program
  • Establish the land and people concept.
  • Establish the Central Opportunities, Resources and Experiences (CORE) concept.
(No alternate options were defined for this issue.)
Size of collection: Ultimate number of byways in the collection
  • Adopt a flexible policy concerning an average number of byways-per-State.

NOTE: The preferred option encourages states to consider an optimum number of byways. This approach fits best with the Program's history of grassroots decision-making.

  • Establish a defined limit on the size of the Americas Byways collection.
  • Let the program be self regulating.
  • Make the standards for designation more rigorous.
  • Reduce the number of byways through de-designation.
  • Adopt criteria requiring a minimum level of available funds per byway.
Designation thresholds: Encouraging future submissions to be the best of the best
  • More carefully define standards for corridor management plans.
  • Adopt more rigorous standards for regional and national significance.

NOTE: Rather than explicitly changing designation standards, which are widely considered adequate, the preferred options focus on higher quality corridor management plan requirements and clearer standards for significance as ways to encourage high quality submissions.

  • Adopt a minimum set of State and Indian tribe byway designation standards.
Marketing cooperation: Offering more cohesive tourism product to travelers
  • Encourage byways to cooperate and make linkages.
  • Encourage byway coordinators and local groups to review major themes and stories in their States, tribal lands and regions.

NOTE: The preferred option sets the stage for marketing cooperation without FHWA directing or establishing policies regarding how cooperation might occur.

  • Adopt national policy objectives regarding the marketing of byways and encouraging partnerships.

NOTE: This alternate option suggests a policy position on how byways should be marketed, and how States, Indian tribes and communities should cooperate. This option may be too formal for the Program, but nevertheless raises questions for discussion and debate.

Partnership evaluation: Evaluating the Federal-tribal-state-local partnership structure that has shaped the Program
  • Establish clearer program direction and guidance for multi-State and International byways.
  • Strengthen marketing funding.
  • Strengthen the amount of attention given to intrinsic quality and resource protection.
  • Do not change anything.

NOTE: This alternate option suggests that all partnerships are optimum and that no initiatives are needed. This report recommends that partnerships can be strengthened in a variety of noted ways.

Re-Designation: Clarifying whether re-designation is needed
  • Pursue a policy of re-designation.
  • Tie re-designation to reviews of corridor management plans.

NOTE: It is recommended that re-designation be an automatic process if byways demonstrated continued interest and activity. This approach still leaves open the State or Indian tribe prerogative to de-designate if intrinsic quality erodes significantly.

  • Consider a limit on the number of years a byway may be designated.

NOTE:This alternate explored whether and how re-designation should be handled. The concept of limiting the number of years a byway could be designated as a way to force a formal re-designation process has consistently met with objections from state scenic byway coordinators.

Grants and Quality: Using the grant program to establish and maintain quality byways
  • Require byways to prepare annual action plans.
  • Introduce grant selection criteria that relate to quality enhancement.

NOTE: The preferred options will encourage byways to think about their annual activities within the framework of quality. Grant selection will also encourage quality.

(No alternate options were defined for this issue.)
Corridor Management Plan Updates: Consider a requirement that corridor management plans be updated
  • Require the regular review and update of corridor management plans to maintain designation.
  • Tie grants to projects identified in corridor management plans.
(No alternate options were defined for this issue.)
Managing Quality: Maintain high-quality byways
  • Require corridor management plans to address the concept of quality.
  • Require byways to produce periodic reports on efforts to enhance the quality of the route.
  • Collect annual information categorized by quality component and summarized for the entire program.
  • Allow the natural evolution to occur wherein top performing byways set the standard for excellence.

NOTE: This alternate option does not help individual byways and the Program to more clearly define what quality is and how it can be maintained. This option provides no clear guidance for different types of byways.

Monitoring Quality: Identifying ways to monitor quality
  • Distinguish the quality of intrinsic resources at time of designation from the subsequent quality of the byway experience. The former establishes the right to be designated; the latter defines whether travelers find the byway satisfying.
  • Prepare materials that clarify how byways can measure and monitor the quality of the byway experience.
  • Integrate measurement and monitoring of quality into grant selection criteria, re-designation criteria, and corridor plan update standards.

NOTE: The preferred options encourage the Program to define quality and provide materials to assist byways in pursuing quality.

(No alternate options were defined for this issue.)
De-designation: Reviewing the concept of de-designation
  • Establish a byway report card.
NOTE:The preferred report card option was integrated into the overall recommendations to encourage consistent activity at the local level and to introduce an element of public awareness of that activity.
  • When considering designation, recognize the differences between loosely organized grassroots byways groups and byways managed by professional land management staffs.
  • Publish general criteria for de-designation.

NOTE: The first alternate option suggests a distinction that would not be helpful to the long term health of the Program - i.e., discriminating against loosely organized byways. The second alternate option requires a change in policy. It considered that the existing de-designation policy is sufficient.

Organizational Strength: Encouraging local organizational strength
  • Require an annual byway group performance report.
  • Require State and Indian tribe byway coordinators to give their local byway groups an annual performance grade.
  • Integrate byway group evaluations and performance reports into grant competitiveness.
  • Require reporting on the effectiveness of grant expenditures.
  • Require from local byway groups a clear definition on the quality of experience offered now and potentially in the future.

NOTE: The preferred options encourage more local thinking about annual work objectives, more transparency on levels of activity, more accountability on the performance of grant funds, and clearer thinking on how all of these issues relate to the quality of the byway experience.

(No alternate options were defined for this issue.)
Updated: 9/3/2013
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