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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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Valuing the Engineering of Resilient Infrastructure

Our infrastructure provides services such as sanitation, drinking water, warmth, mobility and communication. These generate jobs and economic activity, provide security and deliver health benefits – greatly improving our quality of life. Extreme weather, increased demands from a growing population, new technologies such as electric vehicles, coupled with ageing infrastructure assets, pose sharp challenges to the continued reliability and quality of these services. Improvements to enhance resilience often stall because valuing the benefits of measures to enhance the resilience of infrastructure is challenging because of the long – often generational - timeframes involved and the relatively low frequency of extreme events under consideration. Moreover, it is important to think about the resilience of the service as a whole and not just the physical infrastructure. This can include the role of measures such as behavioural change and spatial planning can have, and not just reparation or strengthening of assets. For example, flood defence appraisal guidance can bias investment towards the protection of housing and individuals, but this could be to the detriment of economically important infrastructure such as ports, road networks or food provision. Transport infrastructure appraisal is biased towards benefits that improve system performance under normal operating conditions. This can leave whole regions at the mercy of conventional benefit-cost ratios that lack consideration of wider economic and social value, strategic importance and interdependencies with other infrastructure services that rely on transport connections. I have been leading a £3.5m research programme, iBUILD: Infrastructure BUsiness models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery, which has been looking at how we deliver, fund, value and manage our infrastructure. After first reviewing the challenges of valuing infrastructure resilience, I will introduce new research on infrastructure business models from this programme. Supported by case studies and recent advances in infrastructure systems modelling, I will highlight how these tools can better assess and capture a richer set of infrastructure values and thereby strengthen business cases that support the engineering of resilient and sustainable infrastructure services.

Richard Dawson
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

 

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