The transformative power of smart infrastructure investment
“We have a once-in-a-generation chance to build an infrastructure that equitably creates opportunities for Americans, instead of further isolating them. We must act.” – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
Infrastructure Transformation: The Time is Now
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a $1.2 trillion investment in US infrastructure, is a “once-in-a generation” bipartisan law that will fund upgrades and modernization of U.S. transportation systems and physical infrastructure while expanding access to broadband internet access. It is also an opportunity explore how digital technologies can transform our infrastructure, making it more resilient, innovative, and efficient and providing more value to our communities, municipalities, and states. The underpinning of this transformation is the connection between transportation and public safety, economic strength, equity, and sustainability.
The potential of the IIJA to shape our future is immense; if we don’t spend the funds wisely, the effects will be felt for generations. Physical infrastructure alone does not fully address the diverse needs of our modern, information-driven economy and set us up for future success. Digital advancements, built on the ‘superpower technologies’ of IoT connected devices, 5G networks, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing, will be critical to the success of this infrastructure buildout. These technologies are available today, deployment-ready and are already foundational to many elements of our daily lives.
What is “Smart Infrastructure”?
The digital revolution is already here – transforming the way we live, work, and communicate. Smart infrastructure is a key part of this revolution. It brings the power of the digital world to physical components like energy, public transportation, and public safety by using sensors, cameras, and connected devices to collect data and provide real-time information to city planners and other decision-makers. This powerful combination of physical upgrades and digital advancements will enable goals like Vision Zero, a multi-national road safety project that aims to reduce traffic and highway fatalities and serious injuries from over one million every year to zero. Bottom line: the next generation of infrastructure is as much about bits, bytes and transistors as it is about cement and steel.
We have entered an era where citizens, businesses and institutions understand the impacts and benefits that technology can bring to our daily lives. A clear indicator of the success of the IIJA act is whether communities choose to augment physical infrastructure upgrades with digital technologies to “future-proof” their investments. It is imperative that cities and communities become more sustainable, affordable, environmentally safe, and equitable, ultimately providing all citizens with a higher quality of life.
Equitable and Sustainable Development
Advances in infrastructure have driven growth and prosperity since the beginning of civilization. The basic structures, systems, and facilities that citizens use for transportation, water, energy, and communications are vital to economic and social development. However, these advances have not always been distributed equitably and have even disrupted communities and displaced tens of thousands of citizens in historically Black communities from Miami to Detroit. Meanwhile, lack of access to transportation hinders access to jobs, education, healthcare, and other vital services. According to a 2020 report by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 20% of Black households do not have access to an automobile and 24% of public transit riders are African American. We believe that access to transportation is an on-ramp to opportunities, economic prosperity and equality.
Meanwhile, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and this percentage is predicted to grow. But cities are also a driver of climate change; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports that they are responsible for 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Smart infrastructure can ameliorate these effects by increasing the use of remote sensing devices to monitor air pollution, make recycling systems smarter, and reduce traffic congestion.
Why Intel – and Why Now
At Intel, we have an over 50-year history of manufacturing development and are a leading provider of edge-to-cloud technology. As a pillar of U.S. innovation, we understand the possibilities of combining digital technology with physical infrastructure upgrades. Over the last few decades, we have invested in a thriving ecosystem of partners and driven interoperable, open standards-based solutions. We are also working directly with cities and communities to solve issues such as transit capacity management.
We are deeply committed to helping our world face critical challenges like climate change, the digital divide, and lack of inclusion. Our RISE strategy defines our goal to create a more responsible, inclusive, and sustainable world that is enabled through technology and our collective actions. Earlier this month,, we committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. We fully support the U.S. government’s vision to enable growth and prosperity for American people through IIJA funding.
Want to learn more about how smart infrastructure can support a more sustainable future for all? Visit us online for more insights on the power of technology to transform our world.