Adaptability in Recovery

Hein Aucamp, Director, WA Integrated Asset Management, and member of our Perth City Chapter, WA, continues his exploration of adaptable infrastructure.

The linear scarring of a redundant road and the tons of aggregate mean that the disposal cost is significant. So we tend to resist discussing that such a situation would benefit from adaptation; our problems begin in earnest when people agree with us and want to know how to do it.

I can offer a tentative suggestion in another direction, but applications may prove elusive. The most adaptable infrastructure is that which supports the services with the greatest degrees of freedom. For example, compare air transport with road transport.

Consider air transport. The physical infrastructure to connect Australian States by air is a small length of runways, some sophisticated buildings, and an expensive fit-out of smart electronic equipment with highly trained personnel. Every aspect is reconfigurable by procedures and routing schedules except for the landing and take-off points: and even these can be by-passed.

On the other hand, the physical infrastructure to connect Australian States by road is a byzantine spider’s web of expensive roads and bridges of varying degrees or repair. Compared to air travel, nothing is reconfigurable by policy except speeds or standards when reconstruction is done.

It is not always possible to transport goods and services by air rather than road; we will probably always need both.

But my tentative suggestion is that where possible, choose services with the greatest degrees of freedom, and build the infrastructure to support those services. Provide virtual library services. Choose wireless or satellite services rather than cable services.

I would really appreciate comments that could improve my line of thought.

One Thought on “Adaptability in Recovery

  1. David Hope on January 20, 2018 at 4:27 pm said:

    This is an interesting concept but is the adaptability all in the asset or should we be thinking more about the service delivery aspect. Take, for example, rail which at first glance appears to be less adaptable than road. Yet some rethinking on the service side can provide a better solution and impact, favourably, on another problem. Greater use of rail, getting a bigger bang for our buck from existing infrastructure and perhaps enabling cost effective expansion of the rail network will provide greater opportunities to reduce the impact of long-haul trucks on our roads network, providing two benefits. One, longer life for roads as it is trucks that have far and away the greatest impact on the life of a road. And, two, going some way to solving the problem of truck drivers driving far longer than they should causing unnecessary trauma and death to themselves and other road users. Yes, it will lead to less jobs for truck drivers, but there are not many chimney sweeps employed these days.
    So, when we think about continuing service delivery lets think how we can do it better and more responsibly.

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