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Criterion Details

PD-16 Scenic, Natural, or Recreational Qualities

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Project Development Scorecard

  • Rural Basic
  • Rural Extended
  • Urban Extended


Preserve, protect, and/or enhance routes designated with significant scenic, natural, and/or recreational qualities in order to enhance the public enjoyment of facilities.

Sustainability Linkage

Triple Bottom Line

Preserving scenic, natural, or recreational qualities supports the social principle by providing the public with an opportunity for increasing their appreciation and respect of the natural environment through facilities such as visitor centers, recreational features, and/or scenic viewpoints, and through promoting community use of facilities. 

Background & Scoring Requirements

Scoring Requirements

In order to achieve points for this criterion, both of the following prerequisites must apply:

Prerequisite PD-16.1P

0 points. Location along America’s Byway® or Equivalent

Any portion of the project is along one of America’s Byways® (National Scenic Byway or All-American Road)1, a State Scenic Byway, an Indian Tribe Scenic Byway, or other route that was designated or officially recognized as such because of its significant scenic, natural, and/or recreational qualities. This includes bridges spanning scenic and recreational waterways.


Prerequisite PD-16.2P

0 points. Maintain Access

Existing access to scenic, natural, or recreational qualities has not been removed as a part of this project unless it is specifically removed to protect the scenic, natural, and/or recreational qualities themselves.

Requirement PD-16.1

1-3 pointsAvoid or Minimize Impacts to Scenic, Natural, or Recreational Qualities or Enhance Features

Points shall be achieved per Table PD-16.1.A on the next page. Points are not cumulative; rather the highest point value earned should be used.









Minimize Impacts. Show that an effort has been made to minimize “adverse effects” to the features from Prerequisite PD-16.1P.



Provide Access. Provide at least one access from the project to a designated area for vehicles to exit the traffic stream, stop, and experience scenic, natural, or recreational features along the roadway. These areas may be scenic viewpoints or overlooks, welcome centers, tourist activities, or information centers or recreation areas. They must be identified with signage conforming to 23 CFR 655 (the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices2, current revision) Part 2 – Signs.



Avoid Impacts. Show that measures have been taken to specifically avoid impacts to the features from Prerequisite PD-16.1P.




Enhance Features. Protect, preserve, or enhance scenic, natural, and/or recreational qualities along the roadway. This may include improvements to existing access points, signage, views, or to the scenic, natural, and/or recreational qualities themselves. Also included would be protecting these qualities by the removal of an existing access point if it has been determined that the access threatens them.



The following resources are referenced in this criterion and consolidated here:

  1. FHWA, America’s Byways® (National Scenic Byway or All-American Road),
  2. FHWA, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices,

Case Studies & Criterion Examples

Arizona DOT - Using INVEST to Integrate Sustainability: The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) decided to use all three modules of INVEST – System Planning, Project Development, and Operations and Maintenance – to help the agency meet its sustainability goals across the transportation life cycle.  ADOT used INVEST to integrate and advance existing sustainability efforts and to push forward new efforts.  INVEST’s comprehensive sustainability framework and criteria helped ADOT institutionalize sustainability across the agency and with local partners through inclusion in manuals, trainings, and awards.  This case study focuses on ADOT’s use of the Project Development module.

Arizona DOT - Sonoran Corridor Study: In February 2017, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) initiated an environmental review process for the Sonoran Corridor, which would connect Interstate 19 and Interstate 10 south of the Tucson International Airport. A Corridor Selection Report (CSR) and Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were prepared as part of this process in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other regulatory requirements. The project objective is to identify an appropriate and approximate 2000-foot corridor for a future roadway that would be subject to a detailed design and a Tier 2 environmental review to identify a final roadway alignment and necessary project mitigation treatments. At the direction of ADOT, this case study evaluates processes and methodologies used for development of the Sonoran Corridor Tier 1 EIS compared to INVEST guiding principles.

Scoring Sources

The project is considered to have met this criterion if the requirements above can be reasonably substantiated through the existence of the following documentation sources (or equal where not available):

  1. Documentation of national, State, or Indian tribe designation if a byway designation is used to satisfy this criterion or other documentation showing scenic, natural, or recreational values of a project. 
  2. Contract documents showing roadside access point or other protection, preservation, or enhancements. 
  3. Description of activities to minimize impacts to features. 
  4. Description of activities to avoid or improvements to enhance features.