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Policy Statement 313 - Infrastructure Research and Innovations

 

Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 13, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports infrastructure research and innovation to enhance economic vitality while assuring public health, safety, welfare, quality of life, sustainability, and resilience. 

Appropriate methods to enable infrastructure research, and innovation include:

  • Legislation and policies that encourage development of innovative technologies and processes;
  • Through appropriate incentives, research to accelerate the development of existing technology and develop new technology in the fields of design, materials, construction, maintenance, rehabilitation, and operation of the infrastructure with understanding of the need for reduction of life-cycle costs, and improved sustainability and resilience;
  • Appropriate funding for infrastructure research at the federal level in conjunction with state/local agencies, universities, and the private sector;
  • Efforts to identify and disseminate information about federal, state, and local governments, academia, and private sector infrastructure research and development activities; 
  • Efforts to implement innovative infrastructure technology;
  • National attention on infrastructure needs through cooperative efforts;
  • Opportunities for academicians and practicing engineers to conduct basic and applied research and development activities;
  • Research on infrastructure systems such as network modeling involving co-located infrastructure, interdependencies of life lines, and cascading effects of compromised infrastructure on society; and 
  • Efforts to develop and implement new strategies and technologies to mitigate the impact of disasters on the nation's infrastructure.

Issue

In the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, ASCE estimated that $4.6 trillion is needed by 2025 to meet national infrastructure needs. Spending at this rate, even through the use of innovative financing techniques, is unlikely. One way to close this investment gap is to improve outcomes through the development of innovative planning and design, materials, construction methodologies, rehabilitation technologies, maintenance procedures, and operation techniques.

Fragmentation of the design and construction industry limits the support of long-term research efforts that could result in technological gains and innovation. Appropriate technical innovation and industry collaboration can result in improved resilience, reduced life-cycle costs and enhanced sustainability. 

Rationale

The public has the right to expect the operation, maintenance, expansion, rehabilitation and new construction of the nation's infrastructure be performed to enhance economic vitality, quality of life, sustainability, disaster resilience and public safety. These expectations call for innovative solutions which require coordinated and sustained research and development. 

ASCE Policy Statement 313
First Approved in 1986

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