Towards resource-efficient and service-oriented integrated infrastructure operation

Roelich, Katy; Knoeri, Christof; Steinberger, Julia K. and Martin, Chris (2015). Towards resource-efficient and service-oriented integrated infrastructure operation. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 92 pp. 40–52.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2014.11.008

Abstract

Infrastructure is a means to an end: it is built, maintained and expanded in order to enable the functioning of society. Present infrastructure operation is characterised by: governance based on unmanaged growing demand, which is both inefficient and ultimately unsustainable; lack of integration of the end-users, in terms of the variety of their wants, needs and behaviours; separate and parallel delivery of different infrastructure streams prohibiting joint solutions. To achieve long-term sustainability, infrastructure needs to be designed and operated to provide essential service delivery at radically decreased levels of resource use. This new approach will need to: (1) incorporate the end-user, in terms of their wants and behaviours; (2) focus on the service provided; (3) use information and communication technologies more effectively; (4) integrate the operation of different infrastructure systems; (5) be governed in a manner that recognises the complexity and interconnectedness of infrastructure systems; and (6) rethink current infrastructure valuation. Possible configurations incorporating these aspects with the explicit goal of contributing to long term sustainability could be Multi Utility Service Companies or “MUSCos�. This article presents new insights and ideas generated by considering the challenge of the transition towards a MUSCo infrastructure.

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