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Infra Views

Building a Smarter Electric Grid: How Investing in Smarter Electricity Infrastructure Will Energize America

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
AII - smarter electric grid

The potential benefits of a smarter, more distributed grid are well-established, including a reduced carbon footprint, increased efficiency, and reliability and resiliency improvements. But creating multidirectional flow on a grid that was designed primarily to deliver power in one direction, while also improving the system’s capability to integrate increased amounts of distributed resources, is a costly and complex challenge. Without well-planned grid infrastructure improvements that provide increased visibility and management, these and other challenges could negatively impact system reliability and resilience, and put additional stress on existing infrastructure, e.g., power lines, transformers, substations, control systems, etc. Finally, the increased interconnectedness and complexity of the emerging grid model may create new cyber vulnerabilities.

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The Human Cost of Subway Delays: A Survey of New York City Riders

Thursday, July 20th, 2017
Chart 1: How would you grade subway service in recent months?

As the findings make clear, when New Yorkers are left stranded on the subway platform or stuck in a tunnel, they are missing classes and job interviews and doctor’s appointments. They are running late to pick up or drop off their children or care for elderly relatives. They are losing wages and putting their jobs in jeopardy. In short, when subway performance declines, so too does the health, financial security, and quality of life of everyday New Yorkers.

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Environmental and Community Impacts of Shale Development in Texas

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
TAMEST - Environmental and Community Impacts of Shale Development in Texas

The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) convened a task force to prepare this report on the Texas shale development experience. This report covers the underlying science for six topic areas as it pertains to shale exploration and production activities: 1) geology and earthquake activity; 2) land resources; 3) air quality; 4) water quantity and quality; 5) transportation; and 6) economic and social impacts.

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Communications Infrastructure Upgrade: The Need for Deep Fiber

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
Deloitte: Communications infrastructure upgrade The need for deep fiber

Unlocking the full potential of 5G in the United States rests on a key assumption: the extension of fiber deep into the network. Despite the demand and potential economic benefits of fiber deployment, the United States lacks the fiber density in access networks to make the bandwidth advancements necessary to improve the pace of innovation and economic growth. Increased speed and capacity from 5G will rely on higher frequencies and network densification. Carriers will deploy many more small cells, homespots, and hotspots in higher bands, with a coverage radius measured in meters versus kilometers. Without more deep fiber, carriers will be unable to support the projected four-fold increase in mobile data traffic between 2016 and 2021.

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ACEC’S ENGINEERING INC. — Wyoming Republican Senator Seeks Infrastructure and Regulatory Reform

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
Engineering, Inc. - July/ August Cover

Despite a never-ending legislative to-do list, regulatory reform and the nation’s crumbling infrastructure are emerging as key policy priorities for Congress and the new presidential administration. In an exclusive interview with Engineering Inc., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., discussed his vision for infrastructure investment, regulatory reforms and energy legislation. “I am working with the new administration to address our infrastructure priorities and find fiscally responsible ways to start building,” says Barrasso, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

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Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland

Monday, July 10th, 2017
Chart 1. Share of rural population in each state

An aging and increasingly diverse rural America plays a vital role as home to a significant share of the nation’s population, natural resources and tourist destinations. It is also the primary source of the energy, food and fiber that drive the U.S. economy. Rural Americans are more reliant on their transportation system than their urban counterparts.

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California: South Coast Bike Share Feasibility Report

Friday, July 7th, 2017
Hub A: UCSB, Isla Vista (Santa Barbara County), and Goleta

This report is intended to be a starting point for further discussion and outreach among the public, stakeholders, local businesses, and local agencies to evaluate the efficacy of a local bikeshare system, ensure that the system is planned correctly and that all concerns are addressed adequately. The South Coast Bike Share Initiative conducted this feasibility study process over the course of 2016, thanks to generous support by the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, Santa Barbara City College, and the University of California – Santa Barbara.

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Electricity Markets, Reliability and the Evolving U.S. Power System

Monday, July 3rd, 2017
Figure 1 Shares of Total U.S. Net Generation by Fuel: 2005 vs. 2016

Fundamental market forces — the addition of highly efficient new gas-fired resources, low natural gas prices, and flat demand for electricity — are primarily responsible for altering the profitability of many older merchant generating assets in the parts of the country with wholesale competitive markets administered by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs). As a result, some of these resources (mostly coal- and natural gas-fired generating units, but also many oil-fired power plants and a handful of nuclear power plants) have retired from the system or announced that they will do so at a future date.

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ACEC’S ENGINEERING INC. — Ranking Sustainability: What U.S. Cities Can Learn From European Peers

Thursday, June 29th, 2017
2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index

What about North American cities? The index found they have a lot to learn from their international peers. Vancouver was the continent’s leader at 23rd in the overall ratings, while U.S. cities failed to enter the top quartile. The closest contender was New York City at 26th place…Infrastructure differences help explain why European cities outpaced U.S. and Canadian counterparts. Many European urban centers were settled before the automobile age and, as a result, are densely settled and supported by well-established public transportation systems. However, many American cities outside the Northeast grew with automobiles in mind. “Carcentric designs can lead to urban sprawl and a large carbon footprint, with enormous costs,” Dalkmann says. “Those are fundamental challenges for U.S. cities in terms of sustainability.”

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Making Infrastructure Investment Relevant Again

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
Rating infrastructure systems "A" or "B"

Rarely has a need with such bipartisan support gone under-funded for so long despite the diligent efforts of many organizations to break the logjam – from labor to business and even political and policy organizations on the right and left…To support an effort on what is, perhaps, one of the biggest economic challenges facing this country, Brodeur Partners invested in a study of the American electorate. Our goal was to gain insight on what voters find relevant in the infrastructure discussion, along with ideas on how to move things forward.

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