Information Exchange: Publications

Performance Measurement and Assessment: A Summary Paper (Draft)

Author: Sigurd Grava

"Today's civil infrastructure responds to the needs of an earlier society or earlier generations whose needs, expectations, objectives, concerns and values were not always the same as ours. Past generations were very productive in the creation of new infrastructure. The current generation has been left with a legacy of aged systems needing repair and maintenance. Moreover, new technologies and practices are embedded into (added incrementally to) existing ones but are not well integrated. For example, faster speed of travel often affects the quality of life and economic base of a region. Not managed properly it can lead to travel delays, accidents, and congestion rather than enhanced travel. The task of balancing new infrastructure and practices with the need of sustaining existing infrastructure requires proactive thinking on the part of infrastructure managers. The problems we are experiencing suggest that our institutions are unable to assume a pro active role in infrastructure decision-making for a number of reasons: First, a "systems" or "long term" approach is usually obscured by a focus on individual "projects." The political rewards are timed around projects not systems. Second, we are not good at predicting the future, and often don't know with certainty how one part of a system impacts on the rest of the system or on the performance of another system or the performance of two or more integrated systems. Third, if infrastructure professionals don't know about these things, we cannot expect other stakeholders to support our efforts to improve civil infrastructure systems. "

Date Created: May 1998; Date Posted: February 2007





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