THE NEXT GENERATION OF NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING
A world-first digital tool which enables the UK Government to ‘future-proof’ multi-billion-pound infrastructure schemes using advanced data has proved so effective is now being used by the United Nations to underpin sustainable developments across the world.
The University of Oxford worked collaboratively with seven other universities, as well as 55 private sector partners, to create the world’s first infrastructure planning tool which integrates separate information about key infrastructure sectors: energy, transport, water, waste water, solid waste, and digital communications.
The tool, called NISMOD (National Infrastructure Systems MODel) sees infrastructure as a system of interconnected networks. It simulates the capacity and the demand of infrastructure systems across these different sectors, and their ability to withstand potential scenarios in the future, to 2050.
It is built as a ‘system of systems’ – the first of its kind in the world – which enables decision-makers to predict how new policies, or major projects in one system might affect all the other interconnected systems. This means that decision-makers can effectively simulate, predict and assess risks and opportunities across the different sectors in the infrastructure network.
The development of NISMOD comes at a time of significant pressure on global infrastructure – with climate change, resource scarcity, increasing demand on energy systems, ageing populations, and scrutiny on public infrastructure budgets. Further, the increase in digitisation and electrification of infrastructure is leading to increased interconnectivity and interdependence, and potential vulnerability to threats, both natural and man-made.
The NISMOD simulation tool was developed by the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC), led by Professor Jim Hall from the University of Oxford.
It has already been used by the UK Government to assess a series of multi-billion-pound Government infrastructure projects.
By 2020, the tool will be opened up for use by academia, industry, and policy makers – all gaining access to some of the world’s best infrastructure data sets, simulation and modelling results.
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