Infrastructure as an asset – are we there yet?

Decorative image Infrastructure

Physical infrastructure is the basic building block for transport. Up till now, our infrastructure has been mainly developed for the needs of separate transport modes. In order to tackle the challenges that we are facing, we have to do something differently.

The shared challenges, which we should tackle at European level, include the need to foster efficiency, enable new energy storage solutions, improve multimodality and enhance connectivity. These issues require rethinking the measures that should be taken concerning the development and management of infrastructure during the whole life cycle. At the same time, shared challenges open up shared opportunities.

We need to re-evaluate the measures that enable a smooth transition towards smart infrastructure, where we can fully utilise the new opportunities that arise from using the existing infrastructure assets together with the digital and energy layers. TEN-T networks and logistic nodes are integral parts of the process of developing innovative solutions for infrastructure, as they can serve as catalysts through RDI. In addition to defining the viable measures, there is also an urgent need to rethink what the prominent models for financing this transition are. In this plenary, the focus will be on the essential factors needed to deliver a common vision for the next decade.

We have prominent views that all the data that will be generated from intelligent infrastructure and the use of data through new services, applications and networks of networks will contribute towards multimodality, increased safety and more seamless travel chains as well as innovative services both for passenger and freight transport.

Digital technologies, cyber security, 5G, automation, smart energy grids and other paths of development will form an integral part of the physical infrastructure. In this mixture, we need to recognise the opportunities that we should utilise. However, before the prominent views are reality, we need to find ways to live with as well as fix the existing problems and aging infrastructure, and ensure repair and maintenance readiness in the face of more frequent extreme weather conditions. All this calls for resource-efficient construction, management and operation of infrastructure networks.

How can we build the bridge from today’s world to the one that includes new types of partnerships as well as strengthening existing collaboration in order to deliver what we want to? To what extent can we utilise the research sector to explore new models for public-private co-operation for infrastructure networks development? We need to dive into the deep end and rethink how to find innovative ways to finance smart and sustainable infrastructure to ensure its full potential as part of logistic chains.

See the strategic sessions on the plenary theme