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Restore and Improve Infrastructure

March 8, 2012

Infrastructure is the mixture of integral systems that support a community, region or country.  It includes water and sewer systems, road and railroad networks, national power and natural gas grids.  Currently, growing populations, natural disasters and accidents have been putting stress on infrastructure; making it difficult for engineers to keep up with modern solutions.  When researching restoration, engineers must consider sustainability, durability, environmental and energy use and aesthetic appeal. “In 2005, the American Society of Civil Engineers issued a report card, grading various categories of U.S. infrastructure. The average grade was D”.

How to improve transportation systems?

Streets and highways remain critical for maintenance and improvement, but the greater issue is making engineered transportation systems such as individual vehicle travel, mass transit, bicycling and walking as efficient as possible. Recently, cities around the world have established transportation hubs where all transportation elements conveniently meet.

How to build better infrastructure?

New construction materials may enhance current transportation, but developing an entirely new construction method, may help in the long run.  One issue is proper drain flow.  Engineers are researching different options that reduce temperatures and allow rainwater to flow through.  A slip resistant perforated steel plate or steel grate may be the best solution for infrastructure problematic areas.  Slip resistance may be added to any metal substrate such as road plates, pedestrian walkways or expansion joints.

Infrastructure engineers not only have to create new methods, but also have to communicate the value of the projects to the society; which may be difficult.  Funding, policies and political barriers must also be addressed.

National Academy of Engineering. “Restore and Improve Urban Infrastructure”. http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/cms/8996/9136.aspx

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