The Greening Of Asphalt

By Greg Sitek | September 28, 2010

It is the best of times. It is the worst of times," was a Charles Dickens quote that Mac Badgett, outgoing chairman, used to launch this year's National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) 54th Annual meeting. Badgett, who is with Vulcan Materials, Birmingham, AL, turned the session and gavel over to Jim Weeks of Colas Inc., Cincinnati, OH. Like the rest of the nation, the attendees at this year's meeting are waiting to see what the much-discussed Infrastructure Stimulus Package will put into motion. Since asphalt is about pavements, it's obvious that the distribution and disbursement of these stimulus funds will have a direct impact on the attendees' immediate and long-term futures.

Weeks told the audience of asphalt contractors and equipment manufacturers about how the association's national and state leaders joined forces to examine the radical conditions affecting the market. With asphalt being an oil-based product, the unprecedented oil price increases hit the market with unexpected challenges and setbacks.

Through a series of meetings, the leadership team discussed the problems and developed a strategic plan with new directions and approaches for NAPA. This new plan is engineered to focus on the issues that are critically important to the industry's health and welfare.

"We have to continue to improve our product and the workplace," Weeks told the audience. "This means that we need to follow through on our strong tradition of support for research and education. It also means that we need to achieve resolution of the fumes and silica issues."

The program is broken into multiple core strategies to support market share and gain new markets:

Effective Resolution of the Fumes and Silica Issues

Objective: Aggressively prepare for the upcoming fumes health classification and bring the silica partnership to a successful conclusion.

  • Develop and maintain key partnerships with industry partners, labor, government, and academia.
  • Anticipate and respond to fumes research initiatives and developments.
  • Provide effective oversight and management of critical research and regulatory response projects.
  • Ensure paving sector is evaluated on its own merits.
  • Bring effective closure to key remaining U.S. research projects.
  • Anticipate and respond to silica/asphalt milling initiatives by completing the testing of milling machine modifications and bringing the Partnership to a timely, successful conclusion.
  • Maintain support for timely fumes and silica research and regulatory response efforts.

Increase Highway and Airport Infrastructure Funding

Objective: Grow investments in the U.S. highway and airport infrastructure markets, and seek congressional support for highway and airfield pavement research programs.

  • Lead ongoing and immediate industry involvement in federal transportation legislation and build support for specific funding issues.
  • Work to expand, unify and strengthen coalitions and industry partnerships in support of federal transportation legislation. Consolidate transportation industry communication with common messages.
  • Support TRIP to deliver key messages to the media and general public that result in growth in transportation funds.
  • Maintain current and explore potential new grassroots communication messages and delivery channels.
  • Organize TCC Legislative Fly-in and other related Washington activities to advocate transportation construction industry's funding issues.
  • Keep apprised of the latest developments in Congress through legislative tracking tools.
  • Maintain a Political Action Committee to increase awareness and clout of the asphalt pavement industry before elected federal lawmakers.
  • Monitor fluctuations in revenues in the Highway Trust Fund and support legislation to ensure continued growth in highway funding.
  • Promote a new long-term vision for the nation's highway system that increases investment to rehabilitate and rebuild the existing National Highway System and for new highway construction that supports the Critical Commerce Corridors initiative.
  • Build support for increasing transportation investments through an increase in the federal gas tax and other user fee revenue strategies.
  • Strengthen firewalls and budget guarantees embodied in SAFETEA-LU and Vision-100 during the annual budget and appropriations process and during reauthorization of the highway and aviation programs.
  • Fight highway funding sanctions, diversions and substitutions that reduce overall investment in highway funding.
  • Seek federal support for asphalt research.
  • Identify and take appropriate action as needed on legislation that affects the asphalt pavement industry.
  • Work with industry allies to reduce the time to fund, plan, design, and construct highway and airport projects.

NAPA has developed multiple core strategies to support market share, gain new markets and increase competitiveness. The industry will reach its goals by deploying cost-effective solutions to improve pavement performance, benefit the environment, and meet the needs of the road user.

Expand Use of Thin Asphalt For Preventive Maintenance

Objective: Expand use of thin asphalt as a pavement preservation treatment.

  • Partner with the FHWA's Office of Asset Management, the Foundation for Pavement Preservation (FP2), and National Center for Pavement Preservation to ensure that thin overlays are recognized and given equal time with the other treatments with regard to training materials/programs.
  • Working with SAPA, develop Technical Guidelines on the appropriate use, timing and benefits of thin overlays for preventive maintenance.
  • Develop life cycle cost information that compares thin overlays with other surface treatments. Keep updated.
  • Work with Members, SAPA and NCAT to encourage continued development and deployment of thin overlays using warm-mix technology, inclusion of RAP and selective use of polymers.
  • Monitor existing national and state-sponsored research on thin overlays for preventive maintenance. Keep SAPA and members informed of latest developments and adjust strategy as required.
  • Communicate a continuous stream of messages on thin overlays.
  • Develop educational programs for SAPA and industry members on marketing, promoting and selling thin overlays to target markets.
  • Evaluate economic and engineering benefits for promoting thin lift and "economic" black base for new construction.
  • If applicable, work with DOT to ensure system preservation funds can be used for thin overlays.
  • Develop mix design, draft specifications and use guidelines for thin overlays.
  • Partner with DOT to get acceptance (e.g., supplemental/provisional specification).
  • Encourage local product development of thin overlays using RAP and warm-mix technologies.
  • Make the case for the use of thin overlays as a preventive maintenance treatment to target market.

Accelerate Adoption of Warm Mix Asphalt

Objective: Make warm mix asphalt the majority of the U.S. tonnage within five years.

  • Partner with FHWA Office of Pavement Technology through the NAPA-FHWA Technical Working Group. Obtain mobile trailer data and analyze the results.
  • Work to obtain more emissions data.
  • Encourage and monitor research: NCHRP Studies 9-43 and 9-47, NCAT, TTI, U.C. Berkeley, Rutgers, and other state-sponsored projects. Propose performance studies. Keep SAPA informed on latest developments.
  • Develop publications on warm mix energy savings and impact on life cycle assessment and emissions reduction. Work to translate and publish NCAT reports in executive summary.
  • Work with EPA to recognize environmental friendliness of WMA.
  • Work with NIOSH to recognize the positive impact of WMA on working conditions.
  • Develop and disseminate a continuous stream of communications on warm mix at local and national levels via magazine articles, webinars, training tools, conferences, visits to state DOTs, and the Internet.
  • Work with members and technology providers to develop state technical and marketing plan and budget. Identify target audience, messages, tools, and action plan.
  • Form state association/member task force to help guide and implement WMA.
  • Work with DOT and local governments to remove barriers, change specifications, and implement WMA.
  • Work with members and technology providers to identify opportunities to hold WMA open houses and demo projects for target audience.

Increase the Use of RAP

Objective: Double the amount of RAP used in asphalt mixtures within five years.

  • For states with limited RAP use, use experience from lead states (Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, Maryland, Kentucky, and Alabama) to demonstrate that percentages up to 30 percent are used routinely with excellent long-term performance.
  • Develop research needs statement for documenting field performance data on medium (30-50 percent) and high RAP (greater than 50 percent) mixes.
  • Demonstrate that performance is equal to or better than mixtures using all-virgin materials.
  • Work with RAP Expert Task Group (ETG) and SAPA lead states to develop cost and life cycle cost information showing importance of RAP for both initial cost and salvage value.
  • Develop information and data to remove barriers and maintain quality for expanded RAP use, e.g., restrictions for use in surface courses, polymer mixtures, volumetric acceptance specs, SMA, Superpave, and recovered viscosity limits.
  • Develop information on whether and when to drop the binder grade based on binder stiffness requirements for low-temperature or fatigue considerations.
  • Develop data supporting the environmental benefits of RAP, including energy savings, preserving resources, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Develop communications materials emphasizing the green/environmental benefits of reusing RAP. Develop information emphasizing high-value reuse rather than low-value applications such as use in shoulders.
  • Work with Associate Member Council to develop information package encouraging milling in rural areas based on engineering, economics and environment. Develop strategies for getting more RAP on the market.
  • Conduct workshops to promote increased recycling.
  • Develop RAP website directed at both the public and technical audience.
  • Develop program to recognize "RAP champions" at national and state level.
  • Work with the RAP Expert Task Group on recognition of high-RAP successes.
  • Keep communicating with high level officials in FHWA, AASHTO, EPA, and Congress about the benefits of RAP. Develop opportunities for expanding RAP use.
  • Continue to emphasize best practices for RAP processing and handling in NAPA training materials and communications.
  • Convene "think tank" focus group to develop research, development and implementation plan for very high RAP content (greater than 70 percent) mixes. Secure government funding. Work with RAP ETG to develop plan and deployment strategies.
  • Monitor existing national (NCAT Test Track, NCHRP Study 9-46), regional (North Central Superpave Center), and state-sponsored projects. Keep industry informed of latest developments and adjust strategy as required. Encourage NCAT to publish reports and bulletins on the latest RAP research.
  • Develop and deploy a series of webinars on a range of RAP-related topics.
  • Highlight RAP successes and examples of best practices.
  • Develop and disseminate a steady stream of communications about RAP through magazine articles, conferences, trade shows, training tools, visits to state DOTs, and the Internet, at the national and local levels.
  • Maximize LEED credits for incorporating RAP in asphalt pavement.
  • Develop state technical/marketing plan and budget. Identify target audience, messages, tools, and action plan.
  • Form state association/member working group to help guide and implement program.
  • Work with DOTs to remove restrictions on RAP use. Use examples of well-performing RAP pavements.
  • Create opportunities for RAP open houses to be attended by target market.
  • Educate customers to expand milling in rural areas.
  • Make the case for expanding the amount of RAP to target market.

Position Asphalt as the Most Economical Choice in Life Cycle Cost

Objective: Prove and communicate the long-term economic superiority of asphalt pavements to aid in marketplace acceptance.

  • Working with the SAPAs and NCAT, and with funding from APA, develop a new, simplified, more user-friendly LCCA computer program.
  • Working with APA economics team, develop information from all 50 states about time from initial construction to first overlay (as differentiated from time between overlays).
  • Develop communication materials tying lifecycle cost, RAP, rubblization, Perpetual Pavement, etc., to sustainability.
  • Monitor NCHRP study about the economics of using quiet asphalt vs. building noise walls.
  • Develop information about WMA, RAP and other economical mixes that can be used in articles, PowerPoint presentations, etc.
  • Develop and disseminate a steady stream of communications at the local and national levels about LCC advantages through magazine articles, conferences, trade shows, training tools, visits to state DOTs, and the Internet.
  • Develop information about using appropriate binder grade to help control costs.
  • Monitor existing national and state-sponsored research on LCC. Keep SAPAs and Members informed of latest developments and adjust strategy as required.
  • Develop educational programs for SAPA and industry members on how to use the new, more user-friendly version of the APA's life cycle cost analysis software.
  • Develop state technical/marketing plan and budget. Identify target audience, messages, tools, and action plan.
  • Form state association/member working group to help guide and implement program.
  • Distribute promotional brochures and technical bulletins.
  • Showcase Perpetual Pavement Award winners as examples of long-lasting, economical pavements.
  • Share experiences with other state associations and NAPA on successful uses of LCC stories.
  • Make the case for low life cycle cost of asphalt as a major factor in presentations to target market.

Expand the Adoption of Perpetual Pavements

Objective: Make Perpetual Pavements the design standard for asphalt pavements.

  • Collect data supporting Perpetual Pavement concepts and performance, including I-710 in California and I-465 in Indiana.
  • Demonstrate long life of asphalt pavement through the APA Perpetual Pavement Award.
  • Document Perpetual Pavement performance from other studies such as New Jersey, Washington and Oregon. Differentiate from problems caused by such factors as moisture damage due to bad mix designs, poor structural design, etc.
  • Encourage and monitor research including NCHRP 9-38, NCHRP 9-44, NCAT Test Track sections, U.C. Berkeley, Oklahoma, China, Wisconsin, Kansas, Ohio, and new NCHRP project on rehabilitation for long-life pavements.
  • Develop a new Perpetual Pavement synthesis and design guide. Develop a catalog approach based on PerRoad, validated by MEPDG. Need to include mix type selection for economy.
  • Perform life cycle cost analyses to establish the economic advantages of Perpetual Pavement.
  • Through APA, participate in planning, sponsoring and contributing to 2009 International Conference on Perpetual Pavements at Ohio University.
  • Establish and promote the sustainability of Perpetual Pavements.
  • Develop and disseminate a steady stream of communications at local and national levels about Perpetual Pavement's advantages through magazine articles, conferences, trade shows, webinars, training tools, visits to state DOTs, and the Internet.
  • Provide classroom training when required.
  • Recognize leaders in Perpetual Pavements through Perpetual Pavement Award.
  • Work with members to develop state technical and marketing plan and budget. Identify target audience, messages, tools, and action plan.
  • Form state association/member task force to help guide and implement Perpetual Pavements.
  • Work with DOT and local governments to remove barriers and change design practices to Perpetual Pavement design. Need to emphasize preservation of geometrics with mill and fill to city/subdivision markets.
  • Work with agencies and members to identify opportunities to hold Perpetual Pavement open houses and training. Compare local designs to PerRoad designs.
  • Customize national presentation for local conditions to show the benefits of Perpetual Pavements. Emphasize top-down distress. Leave copy of presentation with local officials.
  • Develop local communications programs and materials to highlight the benefits of Perpetual Pavements at regional seminars, conferences and webinars.

Promote the Sustainable Aspects of Asphalt to Increase Market Share

Objective: Promote the sustainable aspects of asphalt to increase market share.

  • Keep communicating with high-level officials in FHWA, AASHTO, EPA Congress, and DOTs about the sustainability of asphalt. Monitor legislative and regulatory initiatives that might mandate green highway construction practices.
  • Monitor activities of Green Highways Partnership and ensure that asphalt is well represented at its events, on its website, and in its newsletters.

Carbon Footprint

  • Identify a model for assessing pavement carbon footprint. Document the carbon footprint associated with asphalt pavements. Incorporate carbon footprint into LCC software.
  • Develop communication materials (brochures, magazine articles, websites, etc.) based on the carbon footprint information.
  • Understand how mix designs (e.g. RAP, shingles, WMA) and other operational factors affect carbon footprint.


  • Determine impact of high-RAP mixes on environmental mitigation.
  • Develop data supporting the environmental benefits of RAP including energy savings.

Cool Pavement Alternatives

  • Develop a strategy for urban heat island mitigation, potentially to include documenting the extent that OGFC and porous pavements reduce surface temperature.
  • Bring perspective to the role of pavement reflectivity and overall UHI effect.
  • Create a brochure on highly reflective pavements, utilizing the study APA sponsored at NCAT in 2008.
  • Provide best practices for alternative pavement designs.

General Support Activities

Objective: Support the six core areas with general/national technical and marketing activities.

  • Hire NAPA vice president for Product Deployment and Sales to lead the delivery of the asphalt pavement industry's marketing plan.
  • Support the Asphalt Pavement Alliance. Focus efforts on trade shows, advertising, Perpetual Pavement Awards, and the Asphalt Pavement Conference.
  • Support NAPA's goals through various conference/workshop sponsorships and memberships.
  • Continue to enhance and expand NAPA's website to promote the use of asphalt pavements as well as the Association's membership, publications and events, etc.
  • Utilize HMAT, NAPA's flagship four-color magazine, to promote asphalt as the pavement of choice. Utilize new e-magazine technology to further expand circulation while reducing the cost of mailing. Work with vendor to expand the universe of potential advertisers.
  • Respond to competitive issues as needed.
  • Implement a Marketing Training Program to assist and support the State Asphalt Pavement Associations in message delivery.

Effectively Represent the Asphalt Pavement Industry

Objective: Grow representation by increasing membership, retaining existing members, and expanding participation in NAPA. Bring value to NAPA members through effective meetings, communications and an expanded awards/ recognition program.

Grow Membership and Expand Participation

  • Work with NAPA members, State Asphalt Pavement Associations, and other appropriate partners to recruit new members and retain existing members.

Conduct Effective Meetings and Increase Informed Participation

  • Plan, organize and execute a successful Annual Meeting and Midyear Meeting as the premier educational and networking forums for the HMA industry.
  • Grow the World of Asphalt Show & Conference to become the premier trade show for the asphalt industry both nationally and internationally.
  • Conduct a Young Leaders program to provide networking and educational opportunities, and build support for NAPA activities through mentoring.

Conduct Awards and Recognition Program

  • Conduct annual awards program.
  • Conduct expanded Diamond Achievement and Diamond Quality Commendation programs.
  • Recognize members' contributions to NAPA's activities and to partnering activities with other associations, organizations and agencies by appropriate awards, citations and ceremonies.

Bring Value Through Effective Communications

  • Utilize ActionNews to increase the informed participation by NAPA members to help accomplish all of our goals.
  • Prepare periodic reports for NAPA state directors on NAPA's current activities for information and use when reporting at meetings of industry membership including State Association meetings.
  • Publish a Membership Directory that serves the members' needs for networking, product sources, etc.
  • Operate a website for recruiting workers to the asphalt industry.
  • Serve the needs of the industry and promote member retention through technical publications that cover a broad array of industry topics.