Infrastructure plans are the hot potato of government politics. No sooner is an idea floated to fix our nation’s D+ grade infrastructure then it’s dropped. However, with a focus on driving economic recovery after the current COVID-19 pandemic is over, The White House is once more floating the idea of a federally-funded $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
But what will any plan look like? Let’s explore.
Any infrastructure plan will consider lessons learned
While our nation’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of investment based on the latest Infrastructure Report Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), it’s likely that those sectors hit hardest by the pandemic will see immediate gains. Hospitals, telecommunication infrastructure, and utilities may top the list of priorities for infrastructure investment reports Transport Topics.
“Shovel-ready” projects which were a significant focus of the government’s response to the 2008 recession and where funding agreements are already in place may also get the green light.
Governors have their say
As the federal government continue to argue about what funding will look like and how it should prioritize investments, the National Governors Association (NGA) has released its principles for national infrastructure investment. A group of bipartisan governors are calling on Capitol Hill and the Administration to:
- Create certainty and stability in long-term federal resources to ensure workforce and economic vitality through dedicated funding and financing.
- Fix and expand existing infrastructure and invest in resiliency and security to modernize it for future generations.
- Streamline project delivery, increase transparency, while achieving environmental protection.
- Embrace new practices and technologies that provide innovative solutions to traditional infrastructure needs.
The role of technology
As the NGA’s principles show, technology has a huge role to play in any post-COVID-19 infrastructure plan. Project delivery practices have traditionally been susceptible to inefficiencies that can cause delays, cost overruns, and insufficient knowledge transfer between building design teams, builders, and infrastructure owners.
The principles of integrated project delivery (IPD) and the use of BIM, or building information modeling, can help by enabling early collaboration between cross-functional teams through all phases of design and construction.
These stakeholders also lack the transparency expected of high-profile, publicly funded infrastructure projects. They need to be able to give a transparent update for tracking construction projects at any point during the project, wherever they are located. Cloud-based design collaboration tools can help ensure more transparency and drive more informed decision-making across infrastructure projects.
These common date environments make knowledge transfer and project management easy and intuitive because all the data about an infrastructure project resides in the same cloud-based environment, with anytime access. These dynamically collaborative workspaces ensure that everyone is empowered with the right tools to enable real-time insights with actionable data. Here’s an example of how one organization is using these tools to connect every one of its external projects with its internal departments, giving them the data they need to drill into every project site, more clearly understand the root causes of concerns, and make better-informed decisions.
From a sustainability perspective, advanced information and communication technology can help solve traffic, environmental, and other problems. While BIM can help advance infrastructure design and achieve more sustainable, smart cities.
The power of integrated teams and workflows
What truly separates these technologies is that they address infrastructure needs in an integrated way, equipping government agencies to meet any project challenge while reducing costs, driving greater collaboration, and delivering more sustainable and more resilient infrastructure.
Learn more about how innovative design solutions can help public sector infrastructure projects make the grade.