Infrastructure week is a national week of events promoting infrastructure, including education and advocacy efforts. Infrastructure is a critical issue that impacts every American, every single day. The aging American infrastructure needs improvements and investments for everyone to live healthy and safe lives. We’re joining hundreds of organizations across the country this week, all raising awareness about this critical issue.
WHAT IS INFRASTRUCTURE?
Infrastructure is critical in everyone’s daily lives. Roads, bridges, rails, ports, airports, pipes, the power grid, broadband…it is all infrastructure. It affects everything from our daily commutes and our summer vacations. Infrastructure determines if we can drink water straight from our taps and flush our toilets. It brings electricity in to our homes and factories. Essentially, we are constantly surrounded by infrastructure, in our homes, our work, and our travels.
RAISING OUR GRADES
In recent years, tragedies have brought infrastructure to the forefront, taking over our nightly news and social media feeds. The Flint, Michigan water crisis exposed more than 100,000 residents to high levels of lead in their drinking water. The Oroville Dam failure impacted the surrounding areas, forcing more than 180,000 people to evacuate their homes and causing harm to the environment.
With these events and others happening in communities across the country, it’s important that we invest in improving existing infrastructure and building new. America’s infrastructure currently scores a D+, according to the ASCE 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. This grade leaves serious room for improvement for our roads, bridges, water systems, and more.
IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS – OUR ROADWAYS ARE IMPROVING!
The good news is, we are improving! Slowly but surely, we are improving. Thanks to efforts like Infrastructure Week, improved awareness and involvement has allowed the U.S. to better our roadways. For example, over the last six years there has been a 17% reduction in total miles of U.S. pavement rated mediocre or poor.
Another gleam of hope is that the transportation landscape is changing. Complete streets are become more critical than ever, shifting our focus on moving people to places, not just traditional transportation via vehicles. There is also more focus on rail and building high speed railways, like Hyperloop to move people to places more efficiently than ever.
Keep focusing on infrastructure. Be vocal with local and national governments on investing in our nation’s infrastructure. Ask important questions. Are we making efficient use of our infrastructure funds? Not just transportation, but water, energy, and more. How do we design infrastructure that address other challenges, like climate change or housing issues?
As engineers, architects, and planners, we create the infrastructure of the future. What do you see in the future of infrastructure? What do you hope to see? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Get involved with Infrastructure Week events here.