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5 Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations Chapter 1. Besearth and ~nfrast;rllct~re Sensation-Oppa~tll ~uties and Challenges Findings . . The committee concurs with others that America's pup kc works ~nfr~tructure ~ an essential component of our quality of life, domestic productivity, and international competitiveness; that the slow deterioration in many el- ements of the infrastructure presents an escalating and impending crmm, in some cases posing safety risks; and that deterioration and obsolescence of our ~nhastructure imposes costs on users aDd ultimately imposes constraints on the economic development of communities, regions, and the nation. Researth and development can contribute In significant ways to the unproved performance of infrastructure ser- vices by providing managers and policymakers with a broader range of options. Current research and development on infrastructure is un- even across the various modes of infrastructure, with come commanding considerable financial resources while others are underfunded and facing significant challenges. 51
52 . Conclusion Reteach that amber problems common to several modes ~d them interaction ~ not given sufficient atten- tion. Such topics mclude systems consideration, men ages ment practices, technological improvements, add strategies to overcome the extensive balTiere to Adoration. A ~oroa`'y defined program of infrastruct?urc research and tcchnol- ogy transfer addrce~ng the gaps in research within and among indiv'`ual modes and exploiting the opportunities for cross-cutting research on common topics and interactions ~ credential to dewing more creative solutions to our infrastructure problems. C7napter 2. Identifying the Opportunities Fm~ing8 A number of high visibility problems in infrastructure am pear amenable to a range of reseal efforts. Illustrative of such problems are solid-waste disposal, urban mobility, and water-poDution control. Each of these problems offers opportunities for research ~ several categories include (1) maintenance of existing syste~ns, (2) enhancement of existing systems, (3) development of alternative systems, ~d (4) policies arid management procedures. There ~ much to be gamed fiom recogn~z~g common- alities among the infrastructure elements and exploiting them through generic research. ~ustrati~re areas for com- mon research include materials science, information te~- nology, nondestructive evaluation, and urban and regional pla7,ning. A demonstration project mvol~nng the application of non- destructi~re evaluation to urban streets opera art immediate opportunity to illustrate the broad applicabilibr of a par ticular research approach. ~ . . Conclusion The elective development and use of advances in science and tcch- nology and improved. tools for management and policy malting to
53 address infrastructure problems can have a major impact in improv- ing and maintaining the public scr~necs delivered to the American people. Chapter 3. Barri=e to Renovation Fakings . Innovation in infrastructure occurs, but it faces special barriers including fragmentation of the user community and absence of a market mechanism. Cultural patter=, such as the attachment of Americans to their automobiles and reactance to separation of wastes (thus making recycI=g lea attractive as an option for tech- nological innovation), must be accommodated in seeking technological alternatives. . Other examples of barriers that need attention mclude governmental and professional standards, organizational inertia, and risk and liability problems. Some of the barriers to innovation In infrastructure ~n- clude the current structure of the education and research . - communities. There are effective strategies any techniques for promoting innovation that could be Copter to accelerate technolog~- cad improvement of our infrastructure including peer diffu- sion, support of innovation Champions, the use of demon- strations aDd experiments, the development of mechanisms for resolving public "d professional conflicts, and cooper- ative research and development. Most of Al, a national research and development strategy for infrastructure must involve potential users early and strengthen the existing in-house research and development capacity within the modes. Conclusion The formidable array of boarders to innovation in infrastructure calf for a major effort to identify, understand, and overcome such barriers as part of a national research and `development agenda for infrastructure systems.
54 Chapter 4. ~plenentation Strategy for a National ~astruc- t~re ResearEh Agenda Findings The magnitude and complexity of infrastructure problems merit a national focus. . To adequately addre" these problernR a new force ~d direction for ~nfi~tructure research ~ required The exiting institutions for managing reteach are likely to continue to produce incremental improvements which have very real Prague, but lack the potential to overcome the barriers to innovation and find solutions that address the issues common to several modes. No single organization exists that is dedicated to focusing attention on the problems to be solved ~ unprov~ng the nation's ~nDastructure. Conclusion A continuing organization ~ needed to cnsurc that a national focus ~ given to rcecarch' development, and technology transfer need~for infrastructure systems. This organization will serve as a catalyst to assure that a national infrastructure research agenda ~ formulate per~odicali, update' and carried out. 1~:COM~E:NDATIONS A process to create a continuing organization to focus atten- tion on and stimulate a national program of infrastructure research and development should be initiated. As a first step, the Congress should create and fund a two- year implementation program to plan for and initiate the continuing organization and its agenda. The Implementation program should develop a nations strategy for infrastructure research and development. This would mclude gathering information, setting minimum goals and criteria, drawing up a strategic plan for the con- tinuing organization, and identifying immediate targets of opportunity.
55 . The unplementation program should msue periodic progress reports to the Congress. An effort to encourage and strengthen exiting modal efforts in research and development ~ an essential complement to the creation of an organization for focusing on infrastructure research. The committee encourages systematic efforts by organization cur- rently supporting and conducting reteach In the various subsets of infrastructure and suggests that the approach used to create a research program for highways may be worth emulating, especially in linking the research add user communities.