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Fundamentals of Infrastructure Management

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posted on 2018-01-10, 19:20 authored by Donald CoffeltDonald Coffelt, Chris HendricksonChris Hendrickson
The authors believe this free of charge book, Fundamentals of Infrastructure Management, will expand the impact of the material and help improve the practice of infrastructure management. By ‘free of charge,’ we mean that the material can be freely obtained, but readers should devote time and effort to mastering the material. We have provided problem assignments for various chapters, and we strongly urge readers to undertake the problems as a learning experience.

This book grew out of a decade of co-teaching a course entitled ‘Infrastructure Management’ at Carnegie Mellon University. Our teaching philosophy was to prepare students for work in the field of infrastructure management. We believe that infrastructure management is a professional endeavor and an attractive professional career. The book is co-authored by two accomplished engineers - each representing professional practice, academic research and theoretical evaluation. Their collective strengths are presented throughout the text and serve to support both the practice of infrastructure management and a role for infrastructure management inquiry and search. Importantly, both co-authors have academic research interests (and a number of research publications) on various topics of infrastructure management. That said, the primary audience for this book is expected to be professionals intending to practice infrastructure management, and only secondarily individuals who intend to pursue a career of research in the area.

The text draws examples and discusses a wide variety of infrastructure systems, including roadways, telecommunications, power generation, buildings and systems of infrastructure. We have found that some common fundamentals of asset management, analysis tools and informed decision-making are useful for a variety of such systems. Certainly, many infrastructure managers encounter a variety of infrastructure types during their professional careers. Moreover, due to the functional inter-dependencies of different infrastructure systems, it is certainly advantageous for managers of one infrastructure type to understand other types of infrastructure. For example, roadway managers rely upon the power grid for traffic signal operation.

The first segment of this book presents fundamental concepts and processes (e.g., the FHWA Asset Management Process), followed by chapters on specific types of infrastructure. In the first segment of the book, we generally use roadways as an example infrastructure application but not exclusively. We have chosen roadways since they are ubiquitous and nearly everyone is familiar with their use (and deterioration!).

We are convinced that a life cycle or long-term viewpoint is essential for good infrastructure management. There are always pressures to adopt short term thinking in making investment and management decisions. Political election cycles and short-term stock performance certainly focus attention on immediate priorities or issues. Nevertheless, many infrastructure investments will last for decades or more, and providing good performance over an entire lifetime is critical for good infrastructure management. Even virtual decisions such as the adoption of a particular performance standard for a facility component are likely to have long-term implications.

Of course, infrastructure managers may face budget limits or other constraints that preclude long-term optimization. A result is the deferred maintenance and functional obsolescence that exist in many infrastructure systems. However, understanding the effects and implications of these constraints is an important task for infrastructure managers.

As a fourth organizational concept, we believe that infrastructure management in a process with multiple objectives (as well as multiple constraints). In particular, infrastructure management should adopt a ‘triple bottom line’ to consider economic, environmental and social impacts. Again, infrastructure managers may be charged with focusing solely on costs of providing services, but infrastructure certainly has implications for the natural environment and for society. For example, infrastructure management typically involves a large number of workers and affects a large number of users, so social impacts are significant. Throughout this book, we will try to address the impacts of infrastructure decision making with regard to these multiple objectives.

Students in our Infrastructure Management course were usually first year graduate students or senior undergraduate students. While most were majoring in engineering disciplines, we also had architects, computer scientists and public policy students successfully complete the course. Indeed, many of our students ended up pursuing a career in some form of infrastructure management, and we are particularly grateful to all our students for their insights, their questions and their feedback on the material.
Our course in Infrastructure Management was a full semester with class sessions for 30 to 35 hours over the course of a semester. The order of coverage of material generally followed the order in this book, except that we usually covered one or two infrastructure chapters early in the course to provide context for examples. The course involved class sessions (with a mix of lecture, discussion, videos and in-class exercises), homework assignments and a semester-long group project of the student’s choosing. We considered the group project fundamental to a substantive understanding of the concepts expressed in the text. Our textbooks ranged from peer reviewed journal papers to the literal infrastructure “news of the day”, and our use of those materials is in part responsible for the framework of this text. We also invited a few practicing infrastructure managers to guest lecture on their own their own activities, problems and successes as practitioners in this sub-discipline. We always included a tour of campus infrastructure, visiting utility tunnels, rooftops, and mechanical rooms – spaces not generally open to students.

The text features discussions and materials covering the following infrastructure management related topics: Introduction to Infrastructure Management, Importance of Infrastructure, Goals for Infrastructure Management, Role of Infrastructure Managers, Organizations for Infrastructure Management, Asset Management Process, Inventory, Inspection and Condition Assessment, Deterioration Modeling, Decision Making and Forecasting from Condition Assessment, Regression Models, Markov Deterioration Models, Artificial Neural Network Deterioration Models, Failure Rates and Survival Probabilities, Fault Tree Analysis, Optimization and Decision Making, Performance, Usage, Budget and Cost Functions, Short Run Cost Functions for Infrastructure, Life Cycle Costs, Long Run Investment Decisions and Cost Functions, Decision Analysis and Monte Carlo Simulation for Investment Decisions, Interdependence & Resiliency, Contract and Workflow Management, Commissioning New Facilities, Benchmarking and Best Practices.

In addition, the text examines in some detail the following infrastructure systems: Roadway Infrastructure, Building Infrastructure, Water Infrastructure, Telecommunications Infrastructure, Electricity Power Generation Infrastructure, Base, Campus, Park and Port Infrastructure. This list is certainly not exhaustive, and in fact, the various strategies, techniques and tools expressed in the text can be readily extended to virtually any infrastructure system.