SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway is announcing considerable changes to their organization today, November 11th, which is also the 94th Anniversary of Route 66. These changes will benefit travelers of the most famous road in the world, as well as provide tourism and economic development benefits to attractions and communities along the Illinois portion of Route 66.
The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway has finished a complete redesign of their website; the website can still be found at www.illinoisroute66.org. An exciting new element is the addition of an interactive search and mapping feature that was developed in conjunction with the Visit Widget team out of Austin, Texas. Byway travelers are now able to search for attractions and events along Illinois Route 66 as well as obtain detailed information about Byway attractions. The interactive feature will also allow travelers to create their own itineraries and share them via text message or email with others traveling with them.
The website also features a slick new design that is both user and mobile friendly. An enormous photo gallery containing over 32,000 pictures for attractions and communities, as well as special galleries marking ongoing events is a refreshing addition to the site.
The Byway, in conjunction with Visit Widget has also developed a new App for the organization – “Explore Illinois Route 66” is available for free download on Apple and Android formats. The App provides and even more enhanced version of the search and mapping capabilities that is contained on their new website.
In addition, the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, which is a 501c3 non-profit organization, has just announced a new membership program, which features many new benefits and enhancements for business, attraction, and community members. Casey Wichmann, the new Executive Director of the organization, said, “We have completely revamped the membership program to provide substantial support for the future members of the Byway. We are hoping the relaunch of a reorganized membership program will help boost tourism and economic development throughout the over 90 communities we serve in Illinois. Our focus with the new membership program is to offer a variety of marketing and advertising opportunities as well as PR at a very low cost. The biggest addition to the program is the creation of the Byway Project Fund. This fund will provide financial support to members that apply and are in good standing with the Byway.” Individual and family memberships are also available, and all membership dues, including new memberships and renewals, can now be processed online on the new Byway website. Additional information on the membership program can be found on the website.
The Byway also has a robust visitor guide that can be downloaded on the website or requested by mail for free by emailing email@example.com. To supplement our visitors guide and offer a nostalgic touch, the Byway, in conjunction with McDaniels Marketing out of Pekin, Illinois are designing a new print map for Illinois Route 66. A separate announcement and unveiling of this print map will be forthcoming.
Route 66 turns 100 years old in 2026, (it was officially commissioned in 1926), and the world is already preparing for the 100th Anniversary; this significant anniversary led Illinois to be the first state to establish a State Route 66 Centennial Commission. Local Illinois community commissions and committees have also been formed and are being planned. Millions of visitors from all over the world are expected to visit Route 66 in 2026 and Illinois plans to be a leader in the celebration of this historic road.
The United States Department of Transportation has designated certain US roads as National Scenic Byways because of their special significance to the American people. Route 66 in Illinois received that recognition in 2005. The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway’s mission is to enhance and promote economic opportunities for each Illinois Route 66 community by preserving Illinois Route 66 Heritage and by sustaining and increasing heritage and cultural tourism.