Limited dollars must be spent wisely, and public agencies must ensure they are giving their customers—the driving public—the best performance possible for their tax dollars.
We in the asphalt industry are full partners in this effort. Last year, the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) invested in a significant market research effort to better understand the needs of road owners. Through a combination of in-depth interviews and online surveys, we have received feedback from state departments of transportation, design-build firms, public works departments and tollway authorities.
This effort has helped us learn what our customers need and how we can best serve them. We want to know what they think about different pavement types; what challenges they face; and what are their future needs.
We also are engaging with and listening to road users to better understand the pavement attributes drivers appreciate most.
Public agencies and private companies alike want high-performance pavement at the most affordable price. They also want pavements that can easily be maintained with minimal impact on traffic. Our research confirms that the asphalt industry is seen as a valued partner in this effort, especially when many public agencies are reducing their staff. At the state level, our research shows the state asphalt-pavement associations are highly valued partners and trusted resources for their departments of transportation.
Naturally, as an industry, we value that relationship with our customers, and we plan to continue to find ways to help ensure road owners are able to provide the high-performance, long-lasting roads the nation relies upon to get food from farms to tables, goods from factories to stores and people to wherever they want to go.
NAPA, the state asphalt-pavement associations, the Asphalt Institute and the Asphalt Pavement Alliance are embarking on a long-term effort to communicate the latest breakthroughs in pavement technology and how asphalt best meets the public’s needs. This effort is rooted in engineering, science and valid economic analyses.
As part of this, NAPA has entered into a five-year cooperative agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Under the Technology and Innovation Deployment Program authorized under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), this cooperative agreement is a commitment by NAPA and the federal government to accelerate the implementation and delivery of new innovations and technologies that result from highway research and development to benefit all aspects of highway transportation. We will be updating best-practices guides, conducting webinars, issuing TechBriefs and using multiple channels to help public agencies learn about innovative pavement technologies that are ready to be put to use today.
But we will not rest on today’s innovations. The asphalt industry is committed to continuously improving our products and operations. We continue to invest in engineering and scientific research at the National Center for Asphalt Technology and other institutions through NAPA’s Pavement Economics Committee.
From traditional mixes to innovative pavement-preservation options—such as Thinlay asphalt overlays, porous pavements for storm-water management and long-life perpetual pavements—there is an asphalt pavement solution for every need and budget. Our products are sustainable and can put a wide variety of waste materials to use.