How Transportation Inspections Can Save Our InfrastructureSeptember 17th, 2016 Author: Doug Thaler
According to an article in Roads & Bridges Magazine.
Report says bad roads, bridges could cut U.S. GDP by $4 trillion”
“The 10-year picture painted by the American Society of Civil Engineers isn’t too pretty
DOT IN CRISISNEWSCNBCMAY 13, 2016
The American Society of Civil Engineers has concluded that over the next decade,
it will cost more than $3.3 trillion to keep up with repairs and replacements to U.S. roads, bridges, airports, power grid and other critical infrastructure, but based on current funding levels, the nation will come up more than $1.4 trillion short.
When projected to 2040, the shortfall is expected to top $5 trillion, unless new funds are allocated.” You can read the entire article here: http://www.roadsbridges.com/roadsbridges-report-says-bad-roads-bridges-could-cut-us-gdp-4-trillion”
Why is maintaining our infrastructure so critical?
infrastructure keeps our goods moving across the country to the ports and airports, to our stores, to stock our shelves and move parts to manufacturing facilities. If a bridge or a road is damaged, traffic may slow to a crawl or stop.
People are late to work, productivity diminishes and economic progress is reduced. As the economy slows there is less productivity, fewer goods are sold which results in less taxes being paid to continue infrastructure development. The further infrastructure deteriorates the cycle progresses thus in a negative fashion. All areas of both our manufacturing businesses and service economies are affected.
The result is true of the reverse. If monies are put into the increased development of our infrastructure, new areas of growth emerge, communities and our country thrives, profitability increases, productivity increases and exports increase.
This doesn’t include the thousands employed to build and repair our infrastructure whose earnings are recycled back into the economy for necessities and well as luxury items. A paper from the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that “Federal highway grants to states appear to boost economic activity in the short and medium term. The short-term effects appear to be due largely to increases in aggregate demand. Medium-term effects apparently reflect the increased productive capacity brought by improved roads. Overall, each dollar of federal highway grants received by a state raises that state’s annual economic output by at least two dollars, a relatively large multiplier. […]” The paper goes on to prove that the investment into infrastructure even in downturns actually provides major benefits to the economy.
So now most of us are convinced that we need to invest in infrastructure and that it will benefit all of us. Politically if one party endorses the spend the other will block it which continues the cycle. The laws are written today that even if states are granted funds there are enough loopholes for them to defer funds into other projects so the infrastructure never gets the attention that it needs. So how do we stop the cycle, turn things around and start to grow our infrastructure, our economy and our future?
One simple approach that can resolve many of these issues is to modernize the way these assets are inspected, find deterioration
or issues early in the life of the asset, make the required repairs early and extend the life of the asset at a fraction of what it would cost to replace. It may amaze most that almost all infrastructure inspections today are conducted the same way they were 50 years ago. When our bridges were new this may not have been a problem but with the ageing infrastructure, the lack of budgets and resources to manage or replace them it is now critical that we conduct the most accurate inspections with the most modern tools and technology available.
The federal government requires that all bridge inspections be conducted every 2 years and every year for bridges that are deficient in some manner. If modern technology was utilized, issues would be found early, repairs would be made timely, there would be fewer emergency repairs and important infrastructure assets would remain healthier longer. This would result in hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for taxpayers and transportation budgets. Funding could be utilized for modernizing infrastructure to stay competitive in the world marketplace.
“IPC” The Infrastructure Preservation Corporation seeing the transportation industry was lacking viable inspection tools spent 6 years developing the first series of robotic infrastructure inspection services. These services were developed specifically to advance the inspection process to locate early stage deterioration in specific asset components that if addressed in a timely manner would increase the life of that asset at a much lower cost than making larger or emergency repairs that are unexpected. Almost all of the new inspection methodologies include making the inspections safer for both the public and the asset manager.
These new inspection services do not require closing the roadways or placing large boom trucks in the path of oncoming traffic. All of the inspections should be conducted during the day eliminating the need for night time inspections, overtime and disrupting traffic.
More accurate inspections will lead to more timely repairs which would help extend the assets life, save money, help insure the public’s safety and can push transportation funds into advancing the infrastructure to build new bridges and transportation technologies to keep our economy thriving.
For more information on robotic transportation inspection services contact [email protected] or visit www.infrastructurepc.com.