Participation Criteria — TODS
General Eligibility Requirements
Admission Charges: If general admission is charged, charges shall be clearly displayed at the place of entry so as to be apparent to all prospective visitors.
Combining attractions on signs: In the course of installing TODS, INDOT or its contractor, may combine signs for various attractions on the same sign support structures.
Compliance with applicable regulations: Attractions shall satisfy all requirements in this policy; be open to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age or disability; be neat, clean and pleasing in appearance; be maintained in good repair; and comply with all federal, state and local regulations for public accommodations concerning health, sanitation and safety.
Distance from the highway: Attractions located more than 7 miles from the highway will not be considered for signs.
Illegal Signs: Attraction signs will not be authorized if the applicant has any illegal advertising signs on or along any INDOT highway. Illegal signs are defined by the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 (23 U.S.C. 131) and the INDOT Outdoor Advertising Control Manual.
Insufficient Space: Tourist attractions meeting the criteria of this policy do not automatically qualify for attraction signs. Conditions such as insufficient longitudinal space or interference with necessary traffic control devices may make it difficult to place tourist attraction signs at certain locations. In these instances, signing priority will be as follows:
Guide Signs Other than Destination Signs
City and Town Name Destination Signs (D-Signs or SGS)
Destination Signs for Other Destinations (D-Signs or SGS)
Community Way finding Signs (WFS)
General Information Signs (I-Signs)
General Service Signs
Specific Service Signs (Logo Signs)
Tourist Oriented Directional Signs (TODS)
Recreational and Cultural Interest Area Signs (RACIAS)
Locations for TODS: When used, TODS shall be used only on rural conventional roads and shall not be used on conventional roads in urban areas nor at interchanges or expressways.
Minimum Annual Attendance: Attractions in categories where attendance is not specified or exempted must adhere to this requirement. The annual attendance requirement is 1,500.
Minimum Hours of Operation: Unless otherwise indicated in the specific requirements for a category, attractions shall maintain regular hours and be open to the public at least 5 days each week, for 6 hours per day. Facilities that are only open Monday through Friday will be considered a secondary TODS applicant.
Minimum Months of Operation: Unless otherwise indicated in the specific requirements for a category, attractions shall be open to the public at least 6 months of the year.
On-Premise Sign: The attraction shall have an on-premise sign identifying the name of the facility. If the attraction’s on-premise sign is readily visible from the highway, TODS are not normally needed at the entrance to the facility.
Parking: Adequate off-street parking for normal visitor demand but not less than 15 vehicles.
Registration to do business: Attractions shall be registered with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office and maintain an active registration status.
Restrooms and Drinking Water: Modern restrooms and drinking water must be available for public use without charge. If an admission fee is charged for access to the attraction, the restrooms and drinking water may be limited to paying customers, but no additional fee above the admission charge may be charged for restroom access or drinking water.
Tourist Traffic: A facility shall be eligible for TODS only if it derives its major portion of income or visitors during the normal business season from road users not residing in the area of the facility. A road user is considered to be residing in the area of the facility if he or she lives within 30 miles of the facility.
Category Specific Requirements
Agritourism Attraction: An established location where customers can interact with Indiana agricultural producers for the purpose of tours, education or other rural experiences, recreation, or the purchase of products. This category is considered a seasonal attraction and the minimum month of operation requirement does not apply to this category. The facility must satisfy the additional requirements of at least one (1) of the following Agritourism subcategories:
Agri-educational Venue: A producing farm that offers educational, tourist entertainment, or farm-related activities. Activities may include: horseback riding, corn mazes, farm animal petting zoos, hay rides, or other similar outdoor farm-related activities. The facility may offer on-site lodging opportunities, such as a working guest ranch or bed and breakfast.
Agriculture Production or Processing Venue: A site that offers product creation tours on a regular basis throughout the year and is located on a producing farm or in a manufacturing setting.
Amusement Park: A commercially operated park enterprise which supplies various devices for entertainment, including, but not limited to:
1. Roller coasters
2. Water rides
3. Musical entertainment
4. Carnival games
This category is considered a seasonal attraction. The minimum months of operation
requirement does not apply to this category.
Antique Shopping/Artisan Destination Districts: An area located in a city/urban area offering multiple vendor locations for the purchasing of antiques or handmade crafts. There must be at least 5 shops in the District and it must show that marketing efforts are as a district and that it works with the local Visitors Bureau.
Arena: The facility must have at least 20,000 visitors annually and 4,000 seats:
2. Sports complex
The hours requirement does not apply to this category.
Bed & Breakfast/Inn: An owner occupied residence that provides sleeping accommodations to the public, with no more than 14 guest rooms, and breakfast as part of overnight cost. Facility must:
Have visible on-site signage, and
Have at least one parking spot per guest room with off-street parking preferred but not required.
Business District/Main Street Community: The central business district of a community or an area within a community which has been officially designated as a Main Street community by the Indiana Main Street program. Official designation will be confirmed by the Indiana Office of Rural Affairs, Main Street Program.
Campground: A facility offering sites for tents, recreational vehicle (RV) camping, or cabins, for the purpose of temporary living in an out-of-doors environment. The facility shall have a minimum of 25 campsites—can be a combination of cabins, tent sites and/or RV sites. Cabin only facilities must have at least 5 cabins.
Cemetery: A state or national cemetery or a cemetery where persons of national or state historical notoriety are interred. Restrooms, drinking water, parking and attendance requirements do not apply to this category.
Convention Center: A center for hosting events with annual attendance of at least 20,000 and a seating capacity of at least 4,000 seats. The hours requirement does not apply to this category.
Cultural Center: A center for exhibits, presentations, etc., designed to teach visitors about the culture of current or past residents of the area.
Educational Center: A dedicated facility other than a school or post secondary education facility that is of outstanding educational value and conducts educational programs on a regularly scheduled basis throughout the year to educate the public on a subject.
Farmers Market: An established area or facility where consumers can purchase fresh produce directly from Indiana producers. This category is considered a seasonal attraction. The minimum months of operation requirement does not apply to this category.
Golf Course: A golf course open to the public that is at least 18 holes (non-par 3) and follows United States Golf Association regulations. The golf course must have an on-site Clubhouse and offer a “Stay & Play” package utilizing on-site lodging facilities or a local hotel/motel.
Historical Site: A structure or district listed on the Historic Preservation & Archaeology Division of the Department of Natural Resources’ Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures as being of historical significance and that is open to the public.
Industrial Park: A business district that is zoned and planned for industrial or commercial development. The district must have at least 5 separate businesses operating in the district. Business travelers to the district, including truckers, shall be considered as tourists for the purposes of this Policy.
Large Tourist Traffic Generator: A tourist attraction, with no specific category description elsewhere, which attracts at least 10,000 visitors a year. The facility must also have a marketing plan in place that includes 40% of advertising budget targeting markets more than 30 miles away, thus demonstrating that the facility actively markets itself to tourists. Facility also must work with local city and county tourism promotion entities (i.e. Convention & Visitors Bureau, or Chamber of Commerce), if one is available.
“Made in Indiana” production facilities: A facility that educates the public about a production process. The facility must offer tours into the production area.
Food & Beverage production - These are manufacturing facilities where food products are produced from raw ingredients such as canning facilities, candy factories, breweries and wineries. The facility must offer product creation tours on a regular basis, samples of product and actively market to tourists. Fifty percent of the facility’s production must be for retail sales for consumption off site. This category does not include restaurants or similar facilities that prepare meals for consumption on or off-site.
Goods production - These are manufacturing facilities where raw materials are transformed into finished product for retail sale. The facility must offer product creation tours on a regular basis and actively markets itself to tourists.
Marina: A sheltered harbor adjacent to a navigable waterway where boats are kept in the water and recreational boating services are provided. This category is considered a seasonal attraction. The minimum months of operation requirement does not apply to this category.
Museum: An organized and permanent institution with professional staff, essentially educational or aesthetic in purpose, which owns or utilizes tangible objects, cares for them and exhibits them to the public on some regular schedule. Museums with limited parking, restroom and/or drinking water facilities may be considered on a case-by-case basis. If this consideration is requested, a detailed description of the circumstances at the museum must accompany the application form.
Orchard: An established area or facility where consumers can purchase fruits, juice, or cider directly from an Indiana producer. This category is considered a seasonal attraction. The minimum months of operation requirement does not apply to this category.
Park, Recreation Area, Forest, or Wildlife Area: A privately owned area designated for recreation that is made available to the public for activities such as fishing, picnicking, hiking, swimming, boating and sports.
Performing Arts Center: A center, normally in a theatre style, for performance of plays, music, dance, etc. by local or touring talent. The facility shall have a minimum of 250 seats. The hours requirement does not apply to this category.
Religious Site: A shrine, grotto or similar type of site that is of a unique religious nature. Religious sites with limited parking, restroom and/or drinking water facilities may be considered on a case-by-case basis. If this consideration is requested, a detailed description of the circumstances at the site must accompany the application form.
Resort Area: A facility with those recreational amenities normally present at a facility that is the main focal point of a vacation. The facility must offer on-site lodging and dining opportunities and should be situated to take advantage of natural, historic or recreational attractions.
Snow Ski Area: A facility with those recreational amenities are normally present at a snow ski facility:
1. Mechanical lifts
2. Downhill skiing
This is considered a seasonal attraction. The minimum months of operation requirement
does not apply to this category.
Trademark Destination Brand: A district encompassing buildings, structures, sites, or other facilities that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures, as being of historical significance, and open to the public. The distance requirement does not apply to this category. This category applicant is required to be open either a Saturday or Sunday as part of its five day per week requirement. This attraction is required to have at least 20,000 visitors per year. Applicant must show that majority of visitors (51%) are not short-term event traffic and meets tourist traffic definition. If applicant is approved, the applicant will be responsible for all costs associated with sign creation, installation and maintenance. In addition, the applicant must:
Be a local Convention & Visitors Bureau or other economic development agency with a community marketing plan in place.
Be actively utilizing the destination brand in their marketing. Copy of marketing plan must be provided.
Register the trademark brand with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office and provide copy of the certificate with the application.
Transportation Tourist Attraction: A riverboat, canal boat, trolley or train that offers regular tours of a railway/streetcar line or a navigable waterway and attracts at least 1,000 visitors annually. The dock or station where visitors board the attraction must contain information about the attraction for when the riverboat, canal boat, trolley or train is away from the dock or station. This category is considered a seasonal attraction. The minimum months of operation requirement does not apply to this category.
U-Pick Farm: An established area or facility where consumers can purchase pre-picked or pick-it-yourself fresh produce directly from Indiana producers. This category is considered a seasonal attraction. The minimum months of operation requirement does not apply to this category.
Visitor Center: A facility where a tourist may interact with local persons knowledgeable of the area for the purpose of obtaining information about local tourist activities and attractions. This attraction is required to be open either a Saturday or Sunday as part of its five day per week requirement.
Water Park: A free standing commercially operated park enterprise with multiple permanently erected water features, rides and devices providing aquatic family entertainment and offering refreshments for visitor consumption. This category is considered a seasonal attraction. The minimum months of operation requirement does not apply to this category. This category is not for lodging facilities with indoor water park facilities.
Zoological/Botanical Facility: A collection of unique living animals or plants that is displayed through exhibits to educate the public about zoology or botany.