Building a Shared Map of the Nation's Infrastructure to Enable Smart Investments

We had an event at ASU with the title above last week that I attended to try and get a pulse on the future in the same regards since I'm doing a lot of work in that space right now.

Notes and comments below in blue as usual.

Jonathan Koppell
Been working with
  • Sacramento - environmental and health policy
  • Austin - Entrepreneurship
  • Virginia - critical infrastructure

Terry Gerton
How to prioritize infrastructure investment?
    • Hindered by:
    • Lack of systematic data of location and condition
    • Public leadership
    • Private vision for national infrastructure map

Greg DiLoreto
  • Investment in infrastructure increasing in USA
  • Not competitive with major countries in Asia, at all
  • Failing to act is costing USA ~$4T/year, $3.4k per family.
  • Increase investment from 2.5% to 3.5% of GDP
  • Put the trust back in (hwy) trust fund
  • Authorize programs to improve specific categories of infrastructure
  • We must pay real costs
  • Leadership
  • >$5M projects should require lifecycle cost accounting
  • Incentives for maintenance
  • Streamline permitting
  • Develop pipeline for PPA
  • Resiliency
  • Sustainability
  • Community programs
  • Consider emerging tech
  • Local land use planning
  • R&D

Panel on working towards an integrated regional transit network
Craig Helmann, Senior Program Manager, Data Dept, Puget Sound Regional Com.

Andrea d'Amato, Assistant Secretary for Operational Excellence, Mass.DOT

Vladimir Livshits, Systems Analysis Program Manager, MAG,
  • Infrastructure Data for Smart Planning and Investments: Regional Perspective

Kome Ajisse, Director of Planning, SCAG,
  • SCAG is nation's largest metro planning org (MPO)
  • Strategic investments to relieve congestion
    • Rail expansion
    • Goods movement/logistics industry investment
    • Increased active transportation options
    • Strengthens the health of our communities
    • Economic development (jobs)
  • Financial Plan - $550B
  • ~70% of communities w/in SCAG have limited or minimal staff resources to analyze data, ~50% have no in-house GIS services, 80% share data through direct communications. (SCAG Regional Data Survey Fall 2017)
  • They have Data Science Fellowships for student interns.
  • Regional Data Platform: Process, People, Technology x Data collection, data communication, knowledge & action
  • Active transportation database - bicycles & mobile data collection.
  • Partnerships for local data refinement

Q: impact of data, e.g. power digs up road, then telecom digs up road, etc. etc.
A: Andrea, we're trying for access & equity, partnering with Apple, Waze, Google.
A: Kome, our intent is to make the data as granular as possible. Caltran has its own real-time transit map.
A: Vladimir our models are tailored to scenario analyses.

Q: …??
A: Andrea, dealing with the connotations of the word "Bus"
A: Kome, drop was b/c of TNCs,
A: Craig, technology is changing so rapidly

Mod comment: Germany has good multimodal transit

Q: Gas taxes? Can you comment?
Kome: working on something, need research
Vladimir: there may be no pump in the future, maybe charge businesses? Also consider air, and unmanned air craft.
Craig: we already have highest gas tax. Looking to transition to usage tax by 2030.
I really like the usage idea. I'd try to apply some principles of use/wear and necessary interdependence with other systems. Some kind of digital tracking should be relatively straightforward in the next 10 years given where we're going with that technology. Would also give us a nice natl. database.  My first experiment would be a 3-tier policy with partial contributions from city, state, and fed policy/rules. They would be climate-adjusted weight x distance fee. As I understand weight (trucks) accounts for most of the wear, at least in warmer climates where there's no snow. 
Q: How much did you find that policies were an obstacle to collecting and using data? E.g. here in AZ we have data sharing legislation
Kome: the data we use don't have that constraint on them , but dictionaries are different in different jurisdictions. So we aggregate and educate. We also buy a lot of data. We have a big report coming out as we have shortage of about 1/2 M housing.
Andrea: Have you heard the expression, "data rich and information poor?" hahaha. National past time in Boston is to talk about how bad transportation is.
Vladimir: we've got a lot of data, purchase a lot, they all come with strings attached. E.g. sharing, # of users, secured machines.

Q: Collaborating on data?
Vladimir: we have data
Andrea: used to be commissioner of Boston.  
Says she wants help with their GIS database. Real-time integration. 
Seems like it would be perfect for University collaboration.
I tried to catch her afterwards, but couldn't find her.
Craig: they work a lot with university of Washington.
Kome: Have to be careful to not be too friendly with one university and not another. They have international relationships too. Their issue is just getting more granular data.

Keynote: Tom Clemens, Bentley Systems, Executive Advisor, Transportation Solutions
Map of national infrastructure by Chris Tucker, AGS.
Includes underground aquifers.
Issues? Not Technology. Leadership, funding, people, passion, evangelism.
If it weren't so easy to blame incompetence and neglect, I'd be inclined to say there's a giant conspiracy to destroy the US from the inside via crumbling infrastructure. >.>
5,500 structurally deficient bridges (functional, but poor condition)
Jack Dangerman is considered the father of GIS.
CAD and GIS are getting integrating.
ESRI, Future City, Bentley (privately owned companies, long-term thinkers)
Speaker gives heavy praise for these companies and their execs.

Connecticut department of transportation
Iowa, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Orgeon DOT

Need to do a better job of talking about what we're doing well. Yes
USA now does Design, Build. (don't have to plan every detail upfront in bid)
Doing construction in evenings is simple and effective. Gave lots of benefits, bonuses, plus quicker and safer.

Why have civil engineers fallen so far behind? Follow the money!
We're up to 32 states who have supplemented their funding form lack of congressional support
E.g. Texas has $70B dedicated over 10 years from oil wells. Don't mess with Texas!

US DOT Smart City Challenge
Austin, Columbus, Denver, Kansas city, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco
Great branding effort, but be careful about overuse of the word "Smart"

See short paper: McKinsey GoingDigital to Advance Infrastructure. All about the cloud.

Leadership role of Contractors doing heavy construction in development and demand from owners of 3D models automated machine guidance using GPS & laser technology.

Infrastructure Standards: OGC, Open GIS Consortium, Current RFI for Disasters Interoperability, Support from USGS, WHO, FGDC, International Foundation Class

We don't market/advertise ourselves well.
We're shrinking.

How many people don't own a car? 1 hand
Comment about Gen Y and Z not wanting one. 
I don't know about that. 
I get really annoyed when people talk about Gen Y and Z like these are people of a different species.
Everybody needs the same things, whether they realize it or not.
Does owning a car get us closer to that or further? It depends. Do your market analysis!


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