/ News / Trends February 2024

Trends February 2024

Todd Danielson on February 1, 2024 - in News, Trends

In this section, Informed Infrastructure compiles infographics from trusted sources that reveal insight on infrastructure spending. We also compile some of the top infrastructure stories that shouldn’t be missed. For ongoing news coverage, turn to Informed Infrastructure online (www.informedinfrastructure.com), our Twitter feed (@IInfrastructure) and our weekly e-newsletter.

In December 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it has awarded $645.3 million from the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program to help communities around the United States complete transportation projects that will increase mobility, improve safety and generate regional economic growth in rural areas.

More information and a full list of this year’s Rural grant recipients can be found at bit.ly/3vD0jJD.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) issued a new report, “Resiliency in the Balance: Funding Challenges for Clean Water Utilities in Addressing Climate Adaptation.”

The NACWA report examines funding challenges facing the clean water utility sector in advancing resiliency efforts, while also highlighting standout clean water agencies in New York City and Los Angeles County that are innovating and developing regional climate adaptation and resiliency programs in the fields of water reuse, green infrastructure and watershed-based approaches as well as energy efficiency and clean/renewable energy generation and decarbonization.

Read the full report at bit.ly/4900q0d.

In the last few months of 2023, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) made several important announcements.

It released an update to “ASCE/SEI 41-23, Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Existing Buildings,” its consensus-based standard providing analysis procedures and specific requirements for buildings and other structures to withstand seismic impacts. It also published “Tier 1 Checklists for Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Existing Buildings: Fillable Forms for Standard ASCE/SEI 41-23.”

The new standards are available on ASCE’s new interactive platform for standards ASCE AMPLIFY (amplify.asce.org), the society’s new digital platform for standards that features interactive functionality to make it easier for civil engineers to put provisions into practice. AMPLIFY replaces ASCE 7 Online and includes access to Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE/SEI 7-22, 7-16 and 7-10 as well as the new release of ASCE/SEI 41-23 and its associated Tier 1 Checklists.

In addition to standards, the platform includes ASCE’s Hazard Tool, which allows users to search for specific geographical locations and receive precise hazard data for eight environmental hazards specific to the location, helping engineers better prepare structures for likely environmental threats using applicable ASCE standards.

While the platform launches with ASCE 7 and ASCE 41, more standards and materials will be added to AMPLIFY in 2024.

ASCE also released a first-of-its-kind standard, “ASCE/COS 73-23: Standard Practice for Sustainable Infrastructure,” which provides guidance for infrastructure owners to develop and implement sustainable solutions through a project’s entire lifecycle. It’s a non-mandatory, performance-based standard designed for civil infrastructure ranging from transportation projects to water systems to the energy grid. It was developed during a period of five years and involved a multitude of diverse stakeholders. ASCE/COS 73-23 is available from the ASCE Bookstore at bit.ly/3uia7YY.

Authors Advocate for ‘New-Model Engineer’

A new research article on educating civil engineers in the 21st century proposes a new teaching model to empower future engineers to meet human needs in the context of climate and biodiversity crises.

The paper, co-authored by Nick Francis, a senior university teacher at the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield, and Esther Norton, assistant principal at Anglia Ruskin University, is published in the journal Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers—Civil Engineering at bit.ly/3HoCsjq.

The “new-model engineer” will break free from the “bounded rationality” that characterizes the traditional siloed approach to education. Instead, they will develop a holistic understanding of civil engineering as part of a wider socio-environmental system. This change will be enabled by rebalancing teaching across the three domains of learning, valuing skills and behaviors, and pure technical knowledge.

“New-model” engineers will have knowledge of engineering fundamentals, outstanding connective skills and holistic systems thinking that will empower them to be a responsible part of a more stable socio-ecological system. The approach represents a sea change in civil engineering education, which the authors believe represents the most exciting opportunity for the profession in two centuries.

Nature-based infrastructure solutions can influence 79 percent of all targets across Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighting the critical role nature can play in advancing sustainable development, climate action and biodiversity conservation, according to a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UNOPS and the University of Oxford.

Nature-based infrastructure solutions use nature to provide services relevant to the functioning of infrastructure. Services can either be delivered directly by nature-based infrastructure (e.g., when vegetation is used to stabilize a slope) or indirectly (e.g., when that stable slope helps ensure an adjacent road is functioning).

The Global Infrastructure Hub estimates that meeting the global demand for services by 2040 will require almost $100 trillion of investment in sustainable infrastructure. These services are central to achieving the SDGs and other development objectives, and nature-based infrastructure can play a major role in delivering them in a cost-effective, sustainable and resilient way.

Read the full report at bit.ly/3SmA56Y.

The following are the top stories from the last few months (in terms of traffic) on the Informed Infrastructure website. This also reflects key coverage areas that are regularly refreshed online and via our weekly e-newsletter. Simply search key words on Informed Infrastructure online to find the full story.




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