The UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) is a collaboration of seven universities and over 50 partners from infrastructure policy and practice.
ITRC’s research provides concepts, models and evidence to inform the analysis, planning and design of national infrastructure (NI).
We investigate infrastructure and its interdependencies in energy, digital communications, solid waste, transport, waste water, water supply and infrastructure governance.
We have developed the world’s first national infrastructure system-of-systems model, NISMOD, which has been used to analyse long-term investment strategies. Our current work programme – Multi-Scale Infrastructure Systems Analytics (MISTRAL) – builds on NISMOD to develop an integrated analytics capability to inform infrastructure decision-making across scales, from local to global.
Under MISTRAL, we will give decision-makers the capability to assess how infrastructure systems are performing, through:
- Models that help to pinpoint vulnerabilities and quantify the risks of failure
- Tools to perform ‘what-if’ analyses, exploring future uncertainties, e.g. population growth, new technologies and climate change.
MISTRAL will extend our infrastructure systems analysis capability.
Downscaling: we are looking at the UK’s household and business level and representing the infrastructure services and delivery systems they require
Upscaling: incorporating global interconnections via telecommunications, transport and energy networks
Across-scale: applying our approach to other countries, where infrastructure needs are greatest and where systems analysis is a business opportunity for UK engineering firms.
Why is national infrastructure important?
Our national infrastructure systems form the basis of our society’s economic and social wellbeing, for environmental sustainability, and they require significant human and capital investments.
Building infrastructure is a long-term commitment that is difficult to reverse. As a result, infrastructure decisions have major implications for sustainability, mitigation of carbon emissions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
- Governments in advanced economies are faced with ageing infrastructure that needs to meet growing demands for services.
- In emerging economies, major infrastructure investment will lock in patterns of development for decades to come.
- Least developed countries require the greatest infrastructure provision, including basic energy, water and sanitation services and transport connectivity to enable trade and growth.
ITRC is helping governments, utility providers, designers, investors and insurers by developing new ways to evaluate the performance and impact of long-term plans and policy for infrastructure service provision in an uncertain future.