When you think of America’s surface transportation systems, what comes to mind first? The interstate highway system? U.S. freight rail?

There may be one you’re forgetting – America’s inland waterways network.

This “super highway on water” is made up of 12,000 miles of inland navigation channels and 11,000 miles of intracoastal waterways, providing an efficient way to move commodities when they can’t be transported by truck or train.

In ASCE’s 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,  five critical infrastructure categories saw improvement from the previous report, including our inland waterways.

In this episode of ASCE Interchange, Janey Smith Camp, research associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University, discusses what’s next for America’s inland waterways.

“We ultimately need adequate and consistent funding for maintenance and repairs on the locks and dams, and capital investment to ensure those systems are functioning properly,” said Camp.

Inland waterways along with other critical infrastructure systems significantly impact the public’s health, safety, and welfare. And Camp believes that civil engineers and our elected officials play an important role in advocating for improving that infrastructure.

This program funded in part by the ASCE Foundation. Learn more.

To view all Interchange episodes, visit ASCE’s YouTube channel.