A public works professional browses APWA publications aimed at providing insights and solutions

Public Works Insights & Solutions

APWA provides the following papers as a service to our members, who work hard to improve the quality of life for the residents of their communities. The papers are contributed by advertisers and aim to provide solutions to public works professionals.

Interested in being a part of APWA's Public Works Insights & Solutions? Contact Fox Associates at adinfo.apw@foxrep.com.


OTT HydroMet Intelligent Road Weather Monitoring

Podcast: Intelligent Road Weather Monitoring

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Road maintenance has come a long way since the first salt was spread on Detroit’s roads in 1940. Today, more cars and trucks than ever are rolling over America’s highways and streets. Monitoring road weather conditions with adequate systems and sensors is vital to saving lives and supporting winter road maintenance.

In OTT HydroMet’s meteorology podcast, road weather specialists explain how traffic professionals can use different technologies to support their daily work. These combine invasive sensors, flush-mounted to into the tarmac, optical sensors monitoring the road from above, as well as mobile sensors to close data gaps at places where stationary sensors cannot be installed due to budget or technical restrictions. Atmospheric measurements parameters including air and surface temperature, humidity, water film height, freezing temperature, visibility, and more, are as important. So, a smart interaction of different sensor types and adequate software is key to intelligent road weather monitoring.

In this episode, OTT HydroMet’s road weather experts Steven Marks and Manuel Kreissig talk about:

  • Differences between static and mobile road weather sensors
  • Applications and successful setups to monitor road weather
  • Trend: Interaction of various types of sensors with help of intelligent software solutions to support and relieve winter maintenance

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An image from Tensar's Innovation in the Construction Industry

Innovation in the Construction Industry

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The construction industry has a long history of innovation. From the Romans paving the way for our modern road infrastructure to technological breakthroughs like the building information modeling (BIM) system, we’ve come a long way from breaking the wheels of our horse-drawn carriages in rutted dirt roads.

And just as the Romans improved upon dirt roads and modern asphalt roads improved upon Roman highways, we’re entering a new and exciting era of construction innovation—one where recycled asphalt lowers costs and carbon emissions, internet of things (IoT) sensors analyze traffic data to improve safety and reduce congestion, and electrified roads charge electric cars in transit. Innovation is exciting, but it can also breed anxiety. Imagine the skepticism John Froelich faced when he told farmers he’d invented a replacement for horses!

The truth is, innovation is good. Innovations reduce long-term costs, boost resilience, and increase productivity. That’s no less true for the construction industry.


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A cover image of Cartegraph's Asset Management Basics Ebook and Worksheets: A Guide For Communities of All Sizes

Asset Management Basics Ebook and Worksheets: A Guide For Communities of All Sizes

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You know there must be an easier way to run your public works department with confidence and clarity. But, change can be daunting—so how and where do you begin? From crafting your municipal asset management strategy to performing your initial infrastructure inventory, this free ebook—complete with practice worksheets—will guide you every step of the way.

Claim your FREE eBook now to answer the following questions:

  • How do I build an asset management strategy for my community?
  • How do my current public works operations stack up?
  • Does my community really need a public works asset management system?
  • What 7 steps should I follow to select an asset management system?
  • Who else should be involved in the system selection process?
  • Why and how should I kick off an asset management pilot program?
  • What should I do to maintain my work and asset management system?

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Bartlett & West's 9 steps to launch a successful asset management program

9 Steps to Launch a Successful Asset Management Program

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Municipalities and utilities of all sizes strive to provide reliable and affordable services to their ratepayers while protecting the health of the public and minimizing financial and environmental risks. These challenges must be faced in the context of a perfect storm of aging infrastructure and equipment, increasing operation and maintenance costs, aging workforces with increasing retirements and increasingly strict regulatory requirements. One way to successfully address these multiple challenges is an effective asset management program. With sound implementation, user interface and data collection processes, an asset management program can help increase performance, reduce risk of failures, improve inherent reliability and lower the overall cost of asset ownership.


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A cover image of High Sierra Electronics' A Roadmap for Road Weather

A Roadmap for Road Weather

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Every year there are 1.2 million motor vehicle accidents caused by weather (U.S. DOT), and the majority of those are due to altered pavement conditions from wet or freezing precipitation. With climate change, the incidence of severe weather is rising, and the cost and pace of maintaining America’s 4+ million miles of roads is becoming more difficult with each year. Road Weather Information (RWIS) and Flooded Roadways Systems are an integral part of an effective strategy for managing road weather. These automated systems provide real-time weather and road condition data connected to web-based software that can be used to initiate alerts, activate road sign beacons or barriers, and mobilize emergency responders. Advances in technology have made rapid-deploy road weather systems a necessity for state and local public works departments.

In this solutions guide, you’ll learn about the technology, features, and benefits of various types of RWIS and Flooded Roadways Systems, including those that detect high water, flooding, and icy road conditions. Hear from municipalities who have deployed these systems to improve road safety for motorists and improve operational efficiencies for road crews when inclement weather threatens. Read about best practices for road weather management from experts in this guide, A Roadmap for Road Weather – Smart Solutions for Road Weather Information and Flooded Roadways Systems.


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A cover image of LadTech's HDPE vs. Concrete: A Comparison of Manhole Ring Materials

HDPE vs. Concrete: A Comparison of Manhole Ring Materials

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Across North America, municipalities have a decision to make regarding the manhole rings used in their infrastructure. The choice is between traditional concrete rings and the more recently developed high density polyethylene (HDPE) rings. The rings must resist inflow & infiltration (I&I), which can occur as the result of corrosion caused by hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) or deterioration caused by heavy traffic vibration and freeze/thaw cycles. Municipal decision-makers are tasked with specifying a system that offers performance and durability while remaining mindful of their budget. Concrete has been the conventional choice because it’s been around the longest and is familiar to engineers and contractors. Yet, HDPE has emerged in the last 30 years as a reliable alternative. This white paper provides a comparison of concrete manhole rings and HDPE manhole rings. Featuring comments from city engineers and contractors, readers will gain insight into the issues faced by municipalities today and the factors that are considered when making decisions that impact key components of infrastructure.


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A screenshot of AgileAssets' Asset Management for Municipal Public Works video

Asset Management for Municipal Public Works

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One of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S., the City of Raleigh, North Carolina, saves millions of dollars a year while delivering safer, longer-lasting transportation infrastructure.

In this Ask the Expert video, Chris McGee, P.E., the City’s Assistant Transportation Director and President of APWA’s North Carolina Chapter, explains how Raleigh modernized its asset management practices to extend the life of its roadways, ramps, and sidewalks—all while reducing annual maintenance costs by $8M-$9M.

Watch the video, Asset Management for Municipal Public Works, to learn how Raleigh:

  • Improves outcomes by moving from a worst-first to a preservation-focused asset management approach
  • Makes better investment decisions using advanced analytics and integrated systems
  • Increases the safety and performance of its entire pavement network while reducing operating costs
  • Continues to innovate its asset management practices across multiple asset types
  • Leverages relationships with municipal governments across the U.S. to implement industry-leading strategies

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A cover image of Bentley Systems' Smart City Solutions for a Riskier World

Smart City Solutions for a Riskier World

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The pandemic created a major shift in city goals and priorities, pushing collaboration between the public and private sector to the forefront. To better understand the lessons learned during these activities, ESI ThoughtLab collaborated with Bentley Systems and a global coalition of other businesses, government agencies and academic institutions. The goal was to better understand how over 160 city leaders prioritize cybersecurity technology, data analytics and new funding models to help keep constituents safe and businesses open. Using the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework, this timely research explores how over 160 cities have transformed themselves using smart innovation and public-private partnerships to improve the everyday life of their constituents. Read more about best practices for city transformation in this paper, Smart City Solutions for a Riskier World.


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A cover image of OpenGov's Introduction to Modern Government Permitting and Licensing

Introduction to Modern Government Permitting and Licensing

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It is high time to ditch inefficient and opaque paper processes. Here is your guide to modernizing permitting and licensing. Outdated or paper-based permitting and licensing processes are wasting your time, making your government less attractive to do business with, and decreasing resident satisfaction. Modern online permitting and licensing can help by streamlining processes from intake through issuance. This, in turn, saves staff hours, drives increased revenue, and delights residents, businesses and developers seeking to do business with your community. This guide answers what exactly modern permitting and licensing can do for your government, and how you can best get started.


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A cover image of Cartegraph's Preserve Your Pavement

Preserve Your Pavement: A Public Works Road Map to Data-Driven Budgeting

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Your street and roadway network represents your biggest, most expensive asset. In fact, the commitment to repair and preserve your pavement can demand up to 20 percent of your annual resurfacing budget. But, according to the Infrastructure Report Card, U.S. roads have a significant and increasing backlog of rehabilitation needs.

So what’s the best way to make the most of your pavement budget while preserving the life of those valuable streets and roadways?

Download this white paper now to uncover:

  • The importance and benefits of a pavement management system
  • A 7-step approach to putting your pavement data to work
  • How to choose the right solution to meet current and future needs
  • 5 sets of budget and condition-based analyses that fuel data-driven pavement decisions

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A cover image of Cartegraph's Thinking Beyond Asset Management

Thinking Beyond Asset Management: A Guide for Public Works

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As a public works professional, a lot is resting upon your shoulders. The work you perform and the decisions you make directly impact the quality of life of your citizens. And, while your residents don’t necessarily know what it takes to maintain millions of dollars in infrastructure—you do. But the hard truth is that many public works departments today are struggling to keep up.

This white paper will help your organization better understand modern operations management—what it is, why it works—and begin thinking about implementing its strategies and technologies to become more effective, efficient, and productive for your citizens.

Download your free guide now to answer questions like:

  • How can my public works crew become more efficient?
  • What asset management best practices should I be following?
  • How can my team make smarter, data-driven decisions about our infrastructure?
  • What 7 traits should I look for in an operations management system?
  • How can my team help build a stronger, more resilient community?

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A cover image of Bergkamp's Electric vs. Propane white paper

Electric vs. Propane

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What’s the best power source for heating asphalt? For truck-mounted pothole patchers, it generally comes down to electric versus propane. This white paper explores safety, cost, efficiency, practicality, and environmental impact, of both—concluding electric is the better option. Safety: With regular inspection, maintenance, and proper use, both propane and electric heaters can be relatively safe to use. But there is less fear of a malfunction in an electric heater. Cost: Since this is a major consideration, the paper goes beyond a cursory look at cost-per-unit of energy to consider the initial purchase cost of equipment, the cost of maintenance, eventual replacement, and cost of daily power consumption. Efficiency: The evidence shows most fossil-fuel-fired burners operate at 80 to 85 percent efficiency when new, while an electric-powered heater operates at 100 percent and lasts longer. Practicality: It is widely believed that a propane heater can get up to temperature faster than electric heat. The paper explains why the difference is minimal and largely irrelevant. Environmental Impact: Electricity is a cleaner source of energy in almost all applications, when compared to fossil fuels, and can eliminate the need for expensive permits required to operate propane heaters.


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A cover image of American Highway Products' Reusable Manhole Safety Ramps report

Reusable Manhole Safety Ramps & Safety Ramps for Exposed Edges

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The Overlooked Detail That Saves Time & Money on Roadway Milling Projects. Look at how big a problem is Vehicle Damage due to exposed utilities on Mill & Fill paving projects and the associated Liability to the Contractor, Municipality or State. Look at Inadequate Solutions such as signage, cones, paint, cold mix, and millings. Briefly go over 2 case studies looking at safety and savings.


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A cover image of American Highway Products' Custom Steel Inlet/Catch Basin Risers report

Custom Steel Inlet/Catch Basin Risers

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Look at costs to raise Catch Basin/Inlet grates to grade by manually excavating the frame, resetting it and pouring concrete. Go over 3 Case Studies (WI DOT, NJ DOT, IL DOT) Interstate paving projects using Catch Basin/Inlet Risers. Look at pros and cons of Steel vs. Cast Iron Catch Basin/Inlet Risers (customizability/Fit, available riser heights, strength, weight, safety).


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A cover image of American Highway Products' Saving When Repaving report

Pivoted Turnbuckle Manhole Riser (MHR)

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How to cut manhole raising costs by 81% and extend new pavement lifespan: Take a look at Kansas City Study on the Effect of Manholes on Street Condition. Analyze all the costs of raising manholes to grade when paving by taking a closer look at the labor and material costs associated with different methods. List the pros and cons of various manhole raising techniques. Take a look at features for in an ideal manhole rising product. Briefly look at 3 case studies.


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An image of a road and the title Evaluating Paved and Unpaved Road Design and Product Research

Evaluating Paved and Unpaved Road Design and Product Research

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The mechanisms governing roadway performance are complex. Because roads are designed for long service lives under varying conditions, differences in performance which may seem small at first can be magnified over time and lead to premature failures. Diligent civil engineers and contractors can lower these risks by relying on quantitative data from laboratory and field tests to support their designs and select the right materials. The level of expertise required to properly conduct performance testing on both paved and unpaved roads is significant, and even those with extensive experience in this area need to be extremely diligent to make sure the data they publish and the conclusions they reach are valid. It’s critical that researchers follow established protocols such as those published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).


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An image illustrating the difference between Stabilization and Reinforcement

Stabilization vs. Reinforcement: What's the Difference?

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The terms "stabilization" and "reinforcement" are often used interchangeably when discussing geogrids used for civil engineering applications. However, there are key differences in their definitions that have far-reaching implications. In recent years, certification bodies have begun to recognize these differences, giving engineers the confidence that the products and systems they specify are fit for their intended purposes.


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A cover image of Cartegraph's Overcoming 5 Common Challenges Facing Facility Managers

Overcoming 5 Common Challenges Facing Facility Managers

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Your building and facility portfolio represent your community’s largest financial asset. It’s also your second-largest expense and one of your most significant long-term obligations. With so much on the line, even the smallest improvement to facility maintenance and management can result in higher-performing operations, financial savings, and a significant return on investment.

Grab this free guide now to better understand the top five issues facing facility managers today. Along the way, you’ll also uncover tips, tools, and best practices that will help your public works team overcome each of these challenges and thrive in the new normal.

Specifically, you’ll learn more about:

  • Reducing facility costs and maximizing facility revenues
  • Proactively maintaining deteriorating infrastructure assets
  • Destroying data silos and improving information integrity
  • Simplifying complex data to make smarter decisions, and
  • Protecting and engaging your employees and constituents

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A cover image of Cargill's Reducing Chlorides with Brine

Reducing Chlorides with Brine

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The vision of this white paper is to focus on the concerns and solutions of protecting our environment by using brine within our winter maintenance efforts. The paper focuses on the effects of chlorides on the environment and how we can effectively reduce the risk of them moving forward. The paper also covers the best solutions and how to apply them to your program today.


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A cover image of Tensar's A True Comparison of Paving Mats

A True Comparison of Paving Mats

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It can be very confusing when deciding among different fiberglass paving mats in the marketplace. Although they may appear to have similar physical properties when comparing technical data sheets, it's important to have an understanding of the composition of these products that make their performance very different.

To demonstrate and quantify various products' ability to resist cracks, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) conducted an overlay fracture performance study. The TTI testing captured the stress and strain improvement provided by interlayers and allowed for the calculation of an interlayer product's ability to resist reflective cracking. The CMF (Crack Mitigating Factor) quantifies the combined improvement of the reinforced asphalt vs. unreinforced asphalt in terms of dealing with both stresses and strains.


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A cover image of RFP Best Practices: How to develop a future-proofed AVL solicitation in 2021

RFP Best Practices: How to develop a future-proofed AVL solicitation in 2021

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To properly assess an AVL or GPS telematics solution's current and future needs can be a daunting task for any City or Public Works department. At a minimum, you need to be sure the system you choose will be able to meet your current needs based on your infrastructure, budget, and available resources and assets. An even more critical requirement is that the solution and the provider you choose can meet the ever-growing needs of your organization and the citizens you serve. If you're new to the AVL Telematics RFP process for your city or county, developing an operational strategy from scratch can be terrifying. There are your requirements to consider plus those that you will require from your partner. That's where this whitepaper will prove useful. Technology is continually changing. What worked five years ago is likely not working today, which requires you to create a platform for change across your public works department. This whitepaper will guide you on building a vendor requirements solicitation that ensures you are future-proofing your city and acting in your citizens' best interest.


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Disclaimer: The papers featured on this page are sponsored by third-party companies (“Sponsor”), which have paid a fee to APWA for publication of their paper in APWA Public Works Insights & Solutions. The statements and opinions in the papers are those of the Sponsor. APWA assumes no responsibility for any such statements and/or opinions. By publishing the papers, APWA is not endorsing the Sponsor or any product or service mentioned in the papers. All inquiries regarding papers should be directed to the Sponsor.