Research Highlights

Integrated Infrastructure Systems

National Infrastructure is made up of many elements, from roads and railways, to telecommunications networks and waste disposal.  All are important in the operation of a civilised society and the continuation of a strong and sustainable economy.

Over the last 150 years the UK’s infrastructure has commonly been conceptualised and treated as a series of complicated but disconnected technical challenges.  The focus of the relevant professions (engineers, architects, project managers and economists) has been on commissioning and operating individual infrastructure assets and services.  Within industry and academia expertise has developed to address many of the specific challenges presented by ageing infrastructure assets.  There is a tendency therefore to approach these challenges from within specific domains and sectorial silos. Ownership of infrastructure and patterns of governance are often similarly segmented.

It is pragmatic and sensible for expert groups to lead the development of solutions to these specific challenges however, they do not exist in isolation from each other, or from the evolving socioeconomic and environmental systems within which they sit.  A fragmented and silo-based view of UK infrastructure does not appropriately reflect reality.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that UK infrastructure is a dynamic, highly coupled and interconnected system of networks, either through direct interdependencies.

Interdependency Planning and Management Framework

The Interdependency Planning and Management Framework (IP&MF) has been designed to sit alongside, and build upon the existing ROAMEF (Rationale, Objectives, Appraisal, Monitoring, Evaluation, Feedback) project appraisal and evaluation cycle set out in the HM Treasury Green Book. The project to develop the framework was initiated by Infrastructure UK, a group within HM Treasury. It is a collaborative project between The Systems Centre at the University of Bristol and The Bartlett faculty of the built environment at University College London. The aims of the project were recorded in the 2012 update to The National Infrastructure Plan:

“to ensure that interdependencies in infrastructure projects can be properly identified, valued and taken advantage of at the very inception of major infrastructure investments.” (p31)

For further information on the projects above, or if you are interested in collaborating please contact neil.carhart@bristol.ac.uk

People

The Systems Centre’s Research into Infrastructure systems involves a broad multi-disciplinary group:

Prof Colin Taylor

Prof Patrick Godfrey

Prof Eddie Wilson

Dr Ges Rosenberg

Dr Anders Johansson

Dr Neil Carhart