Smart investment will only be possible with strong leadership, decisive action, and a clear vision for our nation’s infrastructure.
Leaders from all levels of government, business, labor, and nonprofit organizations must come together to:
- Incentivize asset management and encourage the creation and utilization of infrastructure data sets across classes.
- Streamline the project permitting process across infrastructure sectors, while ensuring appropriate safeguards and protections are in place.
- Ensure all investments are spent wisely, prioritizing projects with critical benefits to the economy, public safety, environment, and quality of life (e.g. sustainability).
- Leverage proven and emerging tech to make use of limited available resources.
- Consider life cycle costs when making project decisions. Life cycle cost analysis determines the cost of building, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure for its entire life span.
- Support research and development of innovative materials, technologies, and processes to modernize and extend the life of infrastructure, expediate repairs or replacements, and promote cost savings. Innovation should include a component of integration and utilization of big data, as well as the “internet of things.”
- Promote sustainability, or the “triple bottom line” in infrastructure decisions, by considering the long-term economic, social, and environmental benefits of a project.
ASCE recognizes civil engineers’ unique leadership role in addressing our infrastructure challenges. ASCE issued its “Grand Challenge,” a call to action for the entire civil engineering profession to increase the value and capacity of infrastructure and increase and optimize infrastructure investments by transforming the way we plan, deliver, operate, and maintain our nation’s infrastructure. Central to the Grand Challenge is a commitment to rethinking what’s possible through life cycle cost assessments, innovation, performance-based standards, and enhanced resiliency, with the goal of reducing the life cycle cost of infrastructure by 50 percent by 2025.