Transforming Infrastructure: Frameworks for Bringing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to Infrastructure

Transforming Infrastructure: Frameworks for Bringing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to Infrastructure. World Economic Forum. November 3, 2019.

The technological advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have fundamentally altered society in ways both seen and unseen. This digital transformation has changed how people live and work, and everything in between. One area of daily life, however, seems to be largely missing out on this revolution: infrastructure. It remains one of the least digitally transformed sectors of the economy. While individual examples of highly advanced infrastructure systems exist, the sector at large lags behind others in innovation, a fact made all the more apparent by infrastructure’s ubiquity. When the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Infrastructure gathered for its annual meeting in Dubai in November 2018, it sought to understand why.

As it began to think through solutions, the Council found a situation full of opportunity. Infrastructure is far from being a staid industry devoid of innovation – indeed, new technologies and ideas are flourishing. Integrating these innovations, which could change the way infrastructure is designed, developed and delivered, requires aligning stakeholders, implementing effective strategies and creating fertile enabling environments. This will allow existing innovation into the space and provide opportunities for new ideas.

The Council thus decided to create a guidebook, contained here, that explores major questions about how to bring the Fourth Industrial Revolution to infrastructure. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages].

The Western Balkans with Chinese Characteristics

The Western Balkans with Chinese Characteristics. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Heather A. Conley, Jonathan E. Hillman, Matthew Melino. July 30, 2019

In 2012, China and 11 EU countries from Central and Southern Europe and 5 non-EU members from the Western Balkans met in Warsaw, Poland for the first time in a “16+1” format to deepen economic cooperation in the areas of infrastructure as well as information and green technological development. The occasion was marked by the signing of “China’s Twelve Measures for Promoting Friendly Cooperation with Central and Eastern European Countries” and the official launch of the 16+1. Seven years later in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the format has now grown to “17+1” with the inclusion of Greece. Nearly 40 bilateral deals were announced between China and partner countries, which included the opening of credit lines between the China Development Bank and Hungary worth €500 million, Croatia worth €300 million, Romania worth €100 million, Bulgaria worth €300 million, and Serbia worth €25 million.

It could be suggested that this region was in fact an early test case for the Chinese government’s 2013 announcement of its global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which envisions land and maritime transportation corridors stretching across and around the Eurasian landmass to Europe. Certainly, there was a strong infrastructure demand signal emanating from the region, which grew frustrated when its needs for new roads, modern ports, and high-speed rail went unmet by Western investment. Having developed the unique, mixed EU and non-EU 16+1 structure, Beijing could claim to be helping to “bridge” the EU and non-EU divide. It also gained a high-profile vehicle to channel a portion of the BRI’s $1 trillion in promised infrastructure investment. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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How high are Infrastructure Costs? Analyzing Interstate Construction Spending

How high are Infrastructure Costs? Analyzing Interstate Construction Spending. Brookings Institution. Leah Brooks and Zachary Liscow.  August 19, 2019

Although the United States spends over $400 billion per year on infrastructure, there is a consensus that infrastructure investment has been on the decline and with it the quality of U.S. infrastructure. Politicians across the ideological spectrum have responded with calls for increased spending on infrastructure to repair this infrastructure deficit. The issue of infrastructure costs is particularly important as calls for increased infrastructure spending are sometimes coupled with prescriptions for dealing with higher perceived costs. However, the scholarship on the cost of infrastructure is lacking. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 77 pages].

Announcing the Economic Value Atlas: A New Approach to Regional Transportation and Land Use Planning

Announcing the Economic Value Atlas: A New Approach to Regional Transportation and Land Use Planning. Brookings Institution. Adie Tomer. June 5, 2019

Metropolitan areas need a new approach to regional economic development and infrastructure investment. Competition to attract the most productive industries and workers, rising price tags on large and small infrastructure projects, an emerging focus on inclusive economic outcomes, and demand for more livable and resilient neighborhoods all place significant pressures on regional leaders to deliver an advanced, competitive economy that works for all people. That means old policy playbooks that overly focus on business recruitment and congestion mitigation will no longer suffice.

Instead, metropolitan governments and their civic partners need a suite of land use and infrastructure policies and practices that work in service of broader economic objectives.

Over the past 18 months, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program worked alongside Metro—Portland, Oregon’s metropolitan planning organization—to begin addressing this need. The result of that effort is the Economic Value Atlas, or EVA. The objective of the Economic Value Atlas is to better align economic development, regional planning, and infrastructure investment in support of regional economic goals. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, various paging].

Aligning G20 Infrastructure Investment with Climate Goals & the 2030 Agenda

Aligning G20 Infrastructure Investment with Climate Goals & the 2030 Agenda. Brookings Institution. Amar Bhattacharya and Minji Jeong. June 13, 2019.

In many parts of the world, the issue of climate change and the UN 2030 Agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are experiencing an unprecedented momentum. Finally! For many years already, robust science is warning of the devastating impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and fatal consequences of global temperature increase beyond the scientifically based target of 1.5 °C. Without an adequate response, the global GHG emissions will remain far off track, threatening to increase the devastating effects of climate change.

Every day huge amounts of additional GHG emitting infrastructure is still being built. Infrastructure construction and development and its operation in the energy, building and transport sector contribute to approximately 70% of the global GHG emissions, while again 70% of the infrastructure required by 2050 is yet to be built. This makes infrastructure a main source of the problem – yet also a substantial opportunity to become a key driver for improving the quality of life by generating development, employment and the unleashing of innovation for a sustainable future. However, fundamental transformations, such as the aligning of infrastructure construction and climate goals, need to take evolving social pressures into account that require an inclusive approach and deliberate policy-making. Ignoring these challenges is not an option – no matter from which perspective. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 63 pages].

Cybersecurity: Changing the Model

Cybersecurity: Changing the Model. Atlantic Council. Franklin D. Kramer and Robert J. Butler. April 24, 2019

The current model of cybersecurity is outdated. Adversaries continue to grow more sophisticated and outpace advancements in defense technologies, processes, and education. As nation states enter into a new period of great power competition, the deficiencies in current cybersecurity practice, evidenced by the growing number of successful cyber-attacks from Russia, China, North Korea, and others, pose a greater threat.

The need to update the cybersecurity model is clear. An enhanced public-private model – based on coordinated, advanced protection and resilience – is necessary to protect key critical infrastructure sectors. In addition, enhanced action from the federal government, coupled with increased formal cooperation with international allies, are necessary to ensure comprehensive cybersecurity resilience. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 28 pages].

Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations. Congressional Research Service. Jonathan L. Ramseur, Mary Tiemann. Updated April 10, 2019

The principal federal program to aid municipal wastewater treatment plant construction is authorized in the Clean Water Act (CWA). Established as a grant program in 1972, it now capitalizes state loan programs through the clean water state revolving loan fund (CWSRF) program. Since FY1972, appropriations have totaled $98 billion.  In 1996, Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA, P.L. 104-182) to authorize a similar state loan program for drinking water to help systems finance projects needed to comply with drinking water regulations and to protect public health. Since FY1997, appropriations for the drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program have totaled $23 billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers both SRF programs, which annually distribute funds to the states for implementation. Funding amounts are specified in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account of EPA annual appropriations acts. The combined appropriations for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure assistance have represented 25%-32% of total funds appropriated to EPA in recent years.

[PDF format, 43 pages].

The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge

The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Matthew P. Goodman et al. April 23, 2019

Over the next 15 years, more hard infrastructure is projected to be built around the world than currently exists. This global build-out is already underway, and the changes it brings will only accelerate. Infrastructure projects, especially in the transport, energy, information and communications technology (ICT), and water sectors, have long been recognized as the backbone of modern economies. Going forward, emerging digital infrastructure, including fifth-generation (5G) networks, remote sensing, and other advanced technologies, will be especially critical. As our infrastructure is transformed, so will be the economies it fuels, the regions it connects, and the global commons it underpins. These trends are too powerful and potentially beneficial for the United States to stop, and too consequential to ignore. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 61 pages].

Creating a New Marketplace for Resilient Infrastructure Investment

Creating a New Marketplace for Resilient Infrastructure Investment. Brookings Institution. Joseph Kane and Adie Tomer. March 18, 2019

Climate change is getting harder to ignore, from alarming new reports about its impacts to debates around a Green New Deal. Yet for all this attention, individual places—from the biggest cities to the smallest towns—are still struggling to do something about it.

An unpredictable climate should serve as a strong motivator for every community to better maintain its manmade and natural stormwater infrastructure to be more flexible and responsive. Increased flood risks are among the clearest challenges, with climate change already having generated billions of dollars in flooding costs. But as we saw in Houston during Hurricane Harvey—and in several other places along the Gulf Coast, Mississippi River, and beyond over the past few years—many communities currently have failing systems of water pipes, plants, and natural wetlands. Even more troubling is how communities cannot even handle runoff from daily rainfall, as well as additional pollution.

Communities need a new approach to accelerate investment in infrastructure that is resilient to growing climate pressures. They should carry out proactive repairs of their aging, inefficient stormwater systems as a way to deliver fiscal savings and long-term environmental and economic benefits. They also should invest in new technologies and green infrastructure to better protect properties and improve livability. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Federal Traffic Safety Programs: In Brief

Federal Traffic Safety Programs: In Brief.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. David Randall Peterman. October 26, 2018.

 Driving is one of the riskiest activities the average American engages in. Deaths and serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. In 2017, 37,133 people were killed in police-reported motor vehicle crashes in the United States, and in 2016 an estimated 3.14 million people were injured.1 Many of the people who die in traffic crashes are relatively young and otherwise healthy (motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 17 and 23).2 As a result, while traffic crashes are now the 13th leading cause of death overall, they rank seventh among causes of years of life lost (i.e., the difference between the age at death and life expectancy).3 In addition to the emotional toll exacted by these deaths and injuries, traffic crashes impose a significant economic toll. The Department of Transportation (DOT) estimated that the annual cost of motor vehicle crashes in 2010 was $242 billion in direct costs and $836 billion when the impact on quality of life of those killed and injured was included.4 About one-third of the direct cost came from the lost productivity of those killed and injured; about one-third from property damage; 10% from present and future medical costs; 12% from time lost due to congestion caused by crashes; and the remainder from the costs of insurance administration, legal services, workplace costs,5 and emergency services.

 [PDF format, 11 pages].