Research consortium to demonstrate benefits of a systems approach to infrastructure planning

The UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) will be demonstrating their ‘systems approach’ to national infrastructure planning at an event to be held at ICE’s headquarters at One Great George Street this week.

A systems approach to infrastructure planning emphasises the way infrastructure networks and assets interact with one another.
A systems approach to infrastructure planning emphasises the way infrastructure networks and assets interact with one another.

Our entire infrastructure is connected in some way. Electricity powers the trains that bring us to work and sewers collect rain water keeping it away from our roads and homes. In the academic world this is referred to as a systems approach.

This approach spans the complete life cycle of infrastructure projects, from design and implementation to operation and maintenance. It emphasises the way infrastructure networks and assets interact with one another. It has to take into account the uncertainty of things like population growth, technological advances and changes to social habits.

Example of output from NISMOD showing the impact of carbon storage capacity scenarios. (Picture courtesy of ITRC.)
Example of output from NISMOD showing the impact of carbon storage capacity scenarios. (Picture courtesy of ITRC.)

The ITRC is developing a new generation of infrastructure system simulation models and tools to inform the analysis, planning and design of the UK's infrastructure systems. ITRC works with partners in government and industry to undertake research into the energy, transport, water, waste, and information and communication technologies sectors.

Their work is aimed at helping government and industry to improve long-term decision-making for infrastructure planning, design and operation using a systems approach, a philosophy which ICE itself has long supported.

The event will launch the outputs of their collaboration with Infrastructure UK, a unit that sits with HM Treasury looking at the UK's long-term infrastructure priorities and securing funding for investment.

Attendees will be taken through a host of research topics across the energy, transport, waste, water and digital connectivity sectors. A demonstration will also take place of The National Infrastructure Model (NISMOD), a highly complex modelling tool which allows simulation of demand and capacity.

You can read more about ITRC's work at their website - www.itrc.org.uk

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