"We are interested in creating a Customer Service Survey for our Fleet Maintenance Division. Do you know of a survey that might get us started?" Chuck Williams, City of Manhattan, KS

While we don't actually maintain hard copies of survey instruments in our office, Paul Hinderaker, Fleet Service Dept. Director, City of Ames, IA, has one he developed for his department which has now actually been used by his entire agency. You may contact Paul at If you have something else to suggest to Chuck you may contact him at: I'm sure he'd appreciate your input.

"I read somewhere that the final rule on Work Zone Safety and Mobility was recently published in the Federal Register. What impact will it have on my agency and how soon will it take effect?"

The final rule on Work Zone Safety and Mobility was published in the Federal Register on September 9, 2004, with an effective date of October 12, 2007. The purpose is to address the changing time of more traffic, congestion, greater safety issues, and more work zones. The changes are designed to improve the safety and mobility impacts in the work zones by initiating earlier review and planning in the design phase of projects. It also emphasizes the need to train those that plan, design, and manage work zones to keep them current on new practices and procedures. The final rule may be viewed at the Federal Register website under Federal Highway Administration at:

"All the baby boomers are retiring and our chapter is facing a real problem in recruiting volunteers to step up to the leadership roles. Any ideas how we might work on this?"

The first question I'd ask your chapter is "Are you willing to pay the price for new volunteers?" What price, you ask. While it's easy to pay lip service to the desire to attract new volunteers to become involved in your chapters, when they actually show up, do they stick around? Are you sure you really want them to do so? A tip or two follows:

  • Convince the current team of leaders that new volunteers are a good idea. You need to be sure your entire leadership team is convinced about the value of bringing in new volunteers.

  • Help your team identify potential work for new volunteers to do. These folks have gotten enthused about participating so you better plan something for them to do—and then let them do it without telling them what they're planning won't work!

  • Train your team to be positive about the work they do. If your leaders are complaining about ALL the work they have to do or how uncooperative everyone is, they may not realize that the picture they are painting is not a good one.

It takes work to build enthusiasm for new volunteers, identifying specific opportunities for them and ensuring a positive image around presenting your opportunities, and these efforts are a small price to pay for gaining new volunteers and future leaders.

"Here we go again. I heard that FHWA is finally proposing more standards for retroreflectivity which will mean thousands of dollars for my agency in replacing signs to meet the minimum retroreflectivity. Is this a done deal?"

As Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings" and so far she's only humming! Actually, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has proposed new minimum levels for overhead guide signs and street name signs to reflect improvements in headlight technology, changes in sign materials, the growing number of vehicles with higher headlights, and an increasing elderly driver population. FHWA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which outlines two methods for maintaining sign retroreflectivity: assessment and management. Assessment methods involve evaluating individual signs by periodic inspection or measurements. Management methods involve tracking and predicting the retroreflectivity life of signs using databases, date labeling, control signs, and blanket replacement programs.

While comments at workshops indicated an increased cost for sign face materials under the proposed new rule, the financial impact is reduced by allowing a long compliance period, which allows agencies to integrate upgrades into preplanned maintenance cycles. Under the proposed rulemaking, highway agencies would have seven years after the final rule's publication to bring regulatory, warning, and post-mounted guide signs into compliance and 10 years for overhead guide signs and street name signs. Comments on the proposed rulemaking are due by February 1, 2005. To view the Federal Register notice, visit

Ask Ann...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquiries to:

Ann Daniels
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd.
Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625
Fax questions to (816) 472-0405