Better Roads Staff
A Mile High and Elevating
American Public Works Association (APWA) brings 2011 International Public Works Congress and Exposition to Denver
A PWA is bringing innovation and motivation to the Mile High City in September.
The American Public Works Association (APWA) is hosting its annual convention Sept. 17-21 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The conference theme , “Elevate Your Community,” has also been given the tagline, “Innovation. Motivation. Elevation.”
It seems there is an app for almost everything and APWA is using its annual Congress as a way to educate attendees on how to leverage the latest technologies in public works, motivate them to use these tools, and elevate their agencies by implementing them.
There will be 125 education sessions and hundreds of exhibitors covering 90,000-plus square feet of exhibit space. “This year’s Congress will not only provide the information on the latest innovations and technologies, but will also include speakers [who] highlight new public works programs, applications, as well as sessions on social media, sustainability, funding, software and new ways to manage and think,” Peter King, APWA executive director, tells Better Roads.
Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), will address the opening general session. “Public works professionals will not want to miss his presentation on ‘Crisis Management in Complex Organizations,’” King says. “Gen. Hayden has been on the frontline of geopolitical strife and global change, and he understands the dangers, risks and potential rewards in political, economic and security situations that we all face.”
This year’s Congress also will feature a new “APWA Expo Experience” with the latest “Apps in Public Works” and new “Continuing the Conversation” program where interviews with speakers will be conducted around the clock, King says. There will “more than 200 educational sessions to choose from, and conference participants can continue to connect with public works colleagues through many networking opportunities,” King says. “We expect delegates to leave Denver with numerous ideas to ‘elevate’ their communities.”
Conference at a Glance
Sunday, Sept. 17, 2011
Opening General Session
10 a.m. to noon
Retired U.S. Air Force Four-Star General; former director, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); former director, National Security Agency
Topic: “Crisis Management in Complex Organizations”
Monday General Session
8:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Award-winning change agent, founder and president of the Changing Point
Topic: “Becoming a Community Builder – Leadership in Changing Times”
Tuesday General Session
8:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Steven Berlin Johnson, best-selling author, social critic and technologist
Topic: “Creativity and the Brain – Where Do Great Ideas Come From?”
Wednesday General Session
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Sports psychologist, professor of human performance
Topic: “Full Throttle: How to Supercharge Your Energy and Performance at Work”
The Value of Smooth
Bumpy roads are costly roads, according to a study presented at the midyear meeting of the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and soon to be published by Auburn University.
Dr. Richard Willis, an assistant research professor at Auburn, says that even modest improvements in the smoothness of pavements could save up to 2.4 billion gallons of gasoline and 900 million gallons of diesel for the U.S. every year. Willis and Auburn’s Dr. Rob Jackson analyzed more than 20 studies from throughout the world.
“We know that, of all the factors that influence fuel economy – vehicle aerodynamics, engine dynamics, ambient air temperature, tire geometry, vehicle speed, tire pressure and so forth – there is only one that pavements can affect, and that is rolling resistance,” says Willis. “Rolling resistance can be thought of as the force required to keep tires rolling. It could also be thought of as the energy lost between the vehicle and the pavement. Of the two main influences on rolling resistance related to pavements – those due to the stiffness properties of the tire and those due to imperfections in the pavement surface – the pavement industry has the opportunity to influence only one, the pavement itself.”
Willis breaks down his numbers: “A study published by Schmidt and Ullidtz in 2010 showed that slight improvements in smoothness can reduce fuel consumption by 1.8 to 2.7 percent. Other studies suggest larger reductions of up to 4.5 percent. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics says that vehicles traveling on U.S. highways consumed 168 billion gallons of gas and diesel in 2009. AAA reported last week that the average price of gas was $3.66 per gallon and diesel averaged $3.93. Using a conservative figure of a 2.0-percent reduction in fuel consumption, we could thus save 3.3 billion gallons of fuel, or $12.5 billion, every year,” he says.
NAPA President Mike Acott says rough roads also cost Americans billions for excessive repairs. “The Road Information Program calculates that rough roads cost the average American motorist $324 every year – a total of $67 billion – just for extra wear and tear on vehicles. Adding this figure to the $12.5 billion in potential fuel savings, we can see that the U.S. could save nearly $80 billion a year by building and maintaining smoother pavements.”
The new law comes after some fiery activism by bicyclists who claim to have been subject to treatment from recklessly dangerous to just plain crude. Supporters of the ordinance say it’s one of the toughest in America, making it a crime for drivers to threaten cyclists, either verbally or physically. It also allows a cyclist that claims to have been harassed to sue in civil court without waiting for the city to press criminal charges.
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