Infrastructure governance forms part of both the politics of infrastructure and of infrastructure development and transformation. Infrastructure governance is not constrained to fixed processes, nested and uniform levels of authority or pre-determined performance characteristics for decision-making. It is complex, and it can change, it is not then easily captured in large scale, numerical modelling but ITRC-MISTRAL takes on the challenge of finding ways to couple governance understanding with the powerful techno-economic analyses of NISMOD. These complementary approaches are brought together in methodological framework to set up analyses aligned with a relevant governance context.

ITRC Infrastructure Governance Research:

  • Applies a multi-level governance approach to infrastructure (as a system of systems)
  • Completes a governance analysis of the early, national-level application of NISMOD 1.0 within the National Needs Assessment
  • Develops and trials a methodological process for co-ordinating infrastructure performance modelling with governance understanding of infrastructure development – this has the potential to include governance variations within analyses.


Governance analysis of National Needs Assessment Modelling

This governance analysis of the modelling that contributed to the National Needs Assessment (2016) highlighted the complexity of governance arrangements across and between infrastructure systems. The sector strategies used in the modelling reflected both different policy priorities and different approaches to infrastructure change. Additional work would be needed to align strategies for cross sector developments and co-ordination within the system of systems approach.

This analysis provided a first step in exploring ways to generate systematic and rigorous use of governance knowledge with infrastructure modelling. It highlights a need to create an approach to allow the capture of information that can be modelled as well as information that cannot, and to integrate these into analyses. A process that would also be the basis to build a more robust picture of governance possibilities within the infrastructure analysis.

Methodological Framework

Not all infrastructure decisions are national and many decisions occur between or across sectors. Further, the governance of infrastructure and its development is fluid and not easily captured in either stage-gate type processes or numerical representations. Such complexity and variety in governance activities has implications for infrastructure decision-making at the national level and for modelling to support decision-making at all levels.

Different governance arrangements for infrastructure decisions can shape different infrastructure futures. The methodological framework developed in ITRC-MISTRAL provides a tool for incorporating governance factors into infrastructure analysis and an approach for using NISMOD modelling to explore infrastructure futures. It can be used by many different groups and in a variety of applications to integrate governance understanding with modelling and analytics for decisions. The framework provides a structure and logic to important points in developing analyses and it is a communication tool amongst different groups of infrastructure actors as well as a methodological tool for integrating modelling and non-modelling approaches.



Infrastructure: underpinning sustainable development

This report was produced as part of a collaborative partnership between the UNOPS and the University of Oxford-led Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC). Through a systematic ... read more

Reconfiguration, contestation and decline: conceptualizing mature large technical systems

Large technical systems (LTS) are integral to modern lifestyles but arduous to analyze. In this paper, we advance a conceptualization of LTS using the notion of mature “phases,” drawing from ... read more

Using game theory to address modern resource management problems and infrastructure provision

Global tensions over the provision of water, food and energy are growing in response to demographic change and rapid economic development. Whilst water-food-energy challenges are becoming ... read more

Enhancing governance of energy and water interdependencies

The Energy Research Partnership (ERP), UK Water Research and Innovation Partnership (UKWRIP) and The Infrastructure Transition Research Consortium (ITRC) have been working together with ... read more

Governance of multi-regime interactions: the case of the electricity, ICT and private vehicles sectors in the UK

Governance of multi-regime interactions: the case of the electricity, ICT and private vehicles sectors in the UK. Policy and Politics Conference 2014: The challenges of leadership and ... read more

Multi-regime interactions between UK infrastructure sectors

Multi-regime interactions between UK infrastructure sectors. International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, Utrecht 27–29 August 2014. read more

Governing ‘new’ infrastructure financing

The governance of infrastructure financing at the city and city-region scales is critical to the search for new and innovative funding mechanisms for infrastructure systems. The changing context ... read more

Governance interdependencies between the UK water and electricity sectors

This working paper explores the governance interactions between infrastructure sectors over three historical time periods with the aim of analysing how these might influence future transitions. ... read more



New paper highlights dangers of locking in patterns of unsustainable global infrastructure spend

New paper highlights dangers of locking in patterns of unsustainable global infrastructure spend

Built well, infrastructure can demonstrably and positively contribute to areas from economic prosperity and employment to health and education and the safeguarding of the planet’s natural ... read more

Infrastructure as an economic imperative and essential ingredient of all the UN’s SDGs

Infrastructure as an economic imperative and essential ingredient of all the UN’s SDGs

The UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) landmark report addresses how infrastructure helps meet sustainable ... read more