PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR ALL EIGHT NATIONAL BYWAYS IN COLORADO

The first chart shows the total per capita retail sales (PCRS) for all municipalities on each of Colorado’s National Byways. To improve the display of all byway data, Cortez and Durango data are shown together on a line separate from the rest of the San Juan Skyway municipalities.

The chart for all eight byways shows that Per Capita Retail Sales (PCRS) increased somewhat for some of the byways over much of the time period studied, along the Santa Fe Trail, Frontier Pathways (with a slight decline in 2001), and Top of the Rockies. The Santa Fe Trail became a state byway in 1992, and Frontier Pathways and Top of the Rockies became state byways in 1993 – 94. Data are consistent with the hypothesis that byway designation leads to an increase in PCRS.

PCRS mostly trended upward along the two “parts” of the San Juan Skyway over the time period, with the bulk of the municipalities (minus Cortez and Durango) showing some high numbers in 1993 and 1999, declining only slightly after 1999. The San Juan Skyway became a state byway in 1989 and a national byway in 1996. Data appear to support the hypothesis that byway designation had an impact, though it would be helpful to have data prior to 1990.

Grand Mesa and Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road show pretty steady PCRS over the time period studied, and data do not support or refute the hypothesis. The Gold Belt Byway trends upward then down over the period, much of this due to fluctuations in Cripple Creek’s PCRS, as shown below in the display for the Gold Belt Tour. The Gold Belt Byway achieved state recognition in 1989 and national designation in 2000. Upward movement in both years seem to support the hypothesis that byway designation positively impacts local economies.

During the time period studied, Dinosaur Diamond PCRS ended up lower than it was in 1990. Its lowest number occurred in 1996, with PCRS increasing yearly up to the end of the period studied. Dinosaur Diamond became a state byway in 1998 and a national byway in 2002. Data on per capita retail sales along the Dinosaur Diamond, especially the upward trend which begins at just about the same time as state byway designation, appear to support the hypothesis that designation positively impacts the byway economy.

The next set of charts shows per capita retail sales for each municipality along each of the eight byways.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR DINOSAUR DIAMOND

The Dinosaur Diamond became a scenic byway in 1998, and it became a national byway in June of 2002. For the municipalities along the Dinosaur Diamond, we see that in the Town of Dinosaur, after a pretty steep decline in PCRS from 1990 to 1996, the trend is an increase in PCRS for 1997 ($7,987) and 1998 ($9057), then trending slightly downward until 2001. In Rangely, PCRS has been in a slow but steady decline since 1990.

Fruita has seen some increases in its PCRS over time, finishing 2001 with higher rates than it had in 1990, with the highest PCRS ($10,925) in 1998 just after the 1998 byway designation. Grand Junction is the largest municipality along the Colorado portion of the Dinosaur Diamond. Its PCRS increased by almost 20% during the period studied, with a fairly dramatic rise after 1997.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR FRONTIER PATHWAYS

Here we show the data on PCRS from two communities along the Frontier Pathways: the mountain town of Westcliffe and urban Pueblo. Frontier Pathways became a scenic byway in 1994, and became a national byway in 1998. As shown in the table, Westcliffe saw an almost continuous increase in PCRS during the period under study, with some temporary dips in 1994, 1997, and 2001. The Westcliffe PCRS in 2000 is 55% higher than it was in 1990.

For the City of Pueblo the trend is very different – retail sales per capita were relatively flat over the time period studied. Data for the Town of Westcliffe that show an increased PCRS reported for 1995 and again just after the 1998 national byway designation support the hypothesis that byway designation has a positive impact on local economies.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR THE GOLD BELT TOUR

The Gold Belt Tour travels through a diverse set of communities, including Cripple Creek, where there is legalized gambling; Victor, home of many of Cripple Creek’s service workers; Florence, a small artsy town with lots of antique shopping; and Canon City, located in the foothills just east of the Royal Gorge. Both Florence and Canon City saw similar movement in their PCRS – ending the time period slightly higher than they started, with some slight dips and rises along the way. Cripple Creek saw some dramatic changes in PCRS during the 1990s before declining in 2001 to almost 1990 levels. Victor had a couple of peaks, but PCRS were mostly flat for most of the period studied. PCRS for municipalities along the Gold Belt Tour do not appear to support the hypothesis.

 

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR GRAND MESA

Only one town along the Grand Mesa had retail sales listed by the Colorado Department of Revenue on the state’s CEDIS website. Grand Mesa became a state byway in 1991 and the route received national designation in 1996. Changes in PCRS in Cedaredge over the period studied do not appear to be strongly associated with state or national byway designations, though the two-year upward trend in PCRS after 1998 may be due to byway designation or awareness of byway designation. Overall, Cedaredge’s PCRS showed a healthy increase over time, with the 2001 PCRS about 24% higher than it was in 1990, with the highest PDRS in 1995.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR THE SAN JUAN SKYWAY

State byway designation came early for the San Juan Skyway, in 1989. Data are not shown for 1998 and 1999, but data for four of the municipalities --Dolores, Silverton, Ridgway, and Mancos show increased PCRS from 1990 to 1993. Data for all these Skyway municipalities trend mostly upward after national designation in 1996, with the exception of some swings in Ridgway, a dip of PCRS in Ouray for 2000, and a slight drop in Silverton’s PCRS in 2001.

The two municipalities on the San Juan Skyway shown in the next chart are Cortez and Durango. Here data show flat per capita retail sales in Cortez over the period studied, while they show an almost steady increase in Durango. Durango PCRS for 1996 was about 32% higher than it was in 1990, while the 2001 PCRS show a 15% increase from 1996 to 2001. PCRS data for Durango suggest that byway designation had some positive impact.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR THE SANTA FE TRAIL


The Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway comes into Colorado at the Kansas State line, traveling west through Holly, Grenada, Lamar and Las Animas along the Arkansas River before turning southwestward at La Junta. From La Junta the route goes to Trinidad then south along I-25 and into New Mexico. Per capita retail sales generally increased over the time period studied in the three municipalities that have the higher average PCRS on the Colorado portion of the Santa Fe Trail: Lamar, La Junta, and Trinidad. The remaining three towns -- Las Animas, Holly and Grenada, have remarkably similar patterns, with fairly steady PCRS from 1990 to 1995, then slowly declining as they move toward 2001. We see an increase in PCRS in Trinidad, La Junta, and Lamar after national byway designation in 1998, which generally supports the hypothesis that byway designation has an impact on local economies.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR THE TOP OF THE ROCKIES

On the Top of the Rockies, two of the municipalities seem to have been positively impacted by the national byway designation in 1998, with increases in PCRS in 1999. Minturn PCRS continue to increase until the end of the time period studied, while Leadville’s increase is not sustained. Minturn also seems to have seen some positive impacts from designation after 1993, though their numbers were already trending upward when the designation occurred. Red Cliff ended the time period with PCRS at about the same level as it was in 1990.

 

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR TRAIL RIDGE ROAD/BEAVER MEADOWS ROAD

Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road is the only one of the eight national byways in Colorado that received its national designa-tion (in 1996) before it received designa-tion as a state byway in 1999. PCRS in Grand Lake shows an increase after state byway designation in 1999, but with its generally up and down pattern over the time period studied, it does not appear that designation had a strong impact.

PCRS in Estes Park show a pretty steady decline from 1990 to 1999, with a slight increase in 1997 just after national byway designation. Granby is not on this byway, but is the next town west from Grand Lake and could and does benefit from byway designation in 1993 as the Colorado River Headwaters. Its PCRS is mostly flat after national designation but shows an increase after state designation in 1999.

 

CONCLUSIONS ABOUT PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES AND BYWAY DESIGNATION

Overall there is evidence, as shown by per capita retail sales data in the above charts relative to byway designation years, that byway designation has had a positive impact on per capita retail sales (PCRS) figured in many municipalities along the byways. While we cannot isolate byway designation from other variables that may have affected retail sales figures, the changes that occur just after designation support the hypothesis that byway designation has a positive impact on PCRS in towns along the byway.

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