A program inaugurated in 1991 by the U.S. Department of Transportation, through the Federal Highway Administration, to recognize roads possessing six "intrinsic qualities": archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic quality. FHA defines these as:
- "Archaeological quality involves those characteristics of the scenic byway corridor that are physical evidence of historic or prehistoric life that are visible and capable of being inventoried and interpreted."
- "Cultural quality is evidence and expressions of the customs or traditions of a distinct group of people. Cultural features include, but are not limited to, crafts, music, dance, rituals, festivals, speech, food, special events, and vernacular architecture that are currently practiced."
- "Historic quality encompasses legacies of the past that are distinctly associated with physical elements of the landscape, whether natural or manmade, that are of such historic significance that they educate the viewer and stir an appreciation of the past."
- "Natural quality applies to those features in the visual environment that are in a relatively undisturbed state. These features predate the arrival of human populations, and may include geological formations, fossils, landforms, water bodies, vegetation and wildlife."
- "Recreational quality involves outdoor recreational activities directly associated with, and dependent upon, the natural and cultural elements of the corridor's landscape."
- "Scenic quality is the heightened visual experience derived from the view of natural and manmade elements of the visual environment."
"America's Byways" covers two designations:
In order for a road to become an NSB or AAR, it must be nominated as such to the Secretary of Transportation through the scenic byway agency of the state or states in question. Any such nominations are required to include a corridor management plan, the purpose of which is to "preserve and enhance the unique qualities of the byway". There are currently 72 designated byways under the program in 32 states.
"America's Byways are a distinctive collection of American roads, their stories and treasured places. They are roads to the heart and soul of America. Byways are exclusive because of their outstanding qualities, not because byways are confined to a select group of people." -- http://www.byways.org
Primary source: America's Byways http://www.byways.org
List of byways accurate as of October 23, 2002. Several byways lie in more than one state. These are listed under every state through which they pass. Not all byways have corresponding nodes; the ones that do are pipelinked accordingly, where necessary.