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1 Why Critical Infrastructure Systems Matter LIFELINE SYSTEMS The term infrastructure has been used many different ways to include a variety of components. In this report, critical infra- structure systems are defined as the water, wastewater, power, transportation, and telecommunications systems without which buildings, emergency response systems, and other infrastructure cannot operate as intended. They are the âlifeline systemsâ that physically tie together metropolitan areas, communities, and neighborhoods, and facilitate the growth of local, regional, and national economies. These interdependent systems work together to provide the essential services of a modern society: â¢ Water for a vast array of needs, including drinking, wash- ing, cooking, firefighting, farming, and sanitation, as well as for manufacturing, industrial, and mining processes; â¢ Power for numerous uses, including heat, light, refrigera- tion, cooking, food processing, and security purposes; the production of durable goods; and the operation of oil and gas refineries, the Internet, television, and appliances; â¢ Mobility for people, materials, goods, and services to and from workplaces, markets, schools, recreational facilities, and other destinations; â¢ Connectivity for purposes of communication, public safety, emergency services, financial transactions, and
for the control and monitoring of other infrastructure components. Opinions among economists vary about the role of public spending for infrastructure as a means of creating jobs and equalizing opportunity. However, economists generally agree that (1) infrastructure and its quality affect behavior with respect to locationâthat is, where people, activities, and businesses are located or willing to locateâwhich in turn affects economic growth, land use, and quality of life; and (2) it is difficult to achieve high rates of productivity in the absence of quality infra- structure (Gramlich, 1994). Thus, the efficiency, reliability, and resiliency of critical infrastructure systems affect many aspects of society, including the following: â¢ The costs of food, durable goods, and consumer goods; â¢ The competitiveness of U.S. services and goods in the global market; â¢ The health, safety, and well-being of citizens; â¢ The quality of life in communities; â¢ The availability and reliability of power and the mainte- nance of life-support systems; â¢ The travel time required for people to go from home to work or other destinations and for the efficient transport of goods and services; â¢ The reliability and speed of telecommunications; â¢ The speed and effectiveness of communications about actions to be taken during natural and human-made disasters (e.g., regarding evacuation and safe harbors); â¢ The time, cost, and extent of recovery for communities following such disasters. Critical infrastructure systems also affect the quality of the environment and the availability of natural resources for other uses. Electric power and transportation account for 40 percent and 29 percent, respectively, of the nationâs total annual energy use; together they account for more than 50 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to global climate change (EIA, 2008b). Critical infrastructure systems are built to provide services to several generations over several decades. These systems have become so integrated into modern life that they are taken for SUSTAINABLE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEMS
granted: Today, Americans expect to have power at the flip of a switch, clean drinking water by turning on a tap, the mobility to travel freely at any time, and the connectivity to communi- cate instantaneously. Today, in U.S. businesses and industries, it is expected and relied on that the required infrastructure is available to transport raw materials, to manufacture products, to deliver food and durable goods to markets and ports, and to enable the sharing of ideas and the conduct of transactions electronically. By 2030, an additional 60 million Americans and unknown numbers of businesses will have similar demands and expectations for the services provided by these systems (U.S. DOC, 2008). E FF E C T S O F D E T E R I O R AT I N G C O N D I T I O N S Although the nation invested heavily in the design, con- struction, and operation of these systems, it has not invested the funds necessary to keep these systems in good condition or to upgrade them to meet the demands created by a growing and shifting population. Large segments and components of the nationâs water, wastewater, power, transportation, and telecom- munications systems are now 50 to 100 years old. Some systems and components are physically deteriorating owing to wear and tear and lack of timely maintenance and repair, which can lead to increasing rates of intermittent and periodic loss of service. For instance, in the United States between 1991 and 2000, 99 separate power outages occurred, affecting at least 50,000 consumers each time. However, between 2001 and 2005, there were 150 outages affecting 50,000 or more consumersâthat is, there were 50 per- cent more outages in half the time (Amin, 2008). The performance of systems is also deteriorating where sys- tem capacity is not adequate for the level of use. Each year, for example, every driver spends an average of 25 hours in traffic delays at a cost of $742 in time and fuel (TTI, 2005). When critical infrastructure systems fail completely, the results can be devastating, as evidenced by the following events: â¢ The Northeast power blackout of 2003, during which 50 mil- lion people lost power for up to 2 days, at an estimated cost of $6 billion (Minkel, 2008); w h y critical infrastructure systems matter
â¢ Twelve steam pipe explosions in New York City between 1989 and 2007, which killed several people, disrupted power and commerce, and required costly repairs (Belson and DePalma, 2007); â¢ The collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2007, resulting in 13 deaths, numerous injuries, the disruption of commerce for more than 1 year, and the need for a new bridge at a cost of $233 million (Figure 1.1) (MnDOT, 2007); and â¢ The levee failures in New Orleans in 2005, resulting in approximately 1,500 deaths; between $20 billion and $22 billion in property losses; $4 billion to $8 billion in economic losses; $16 billion to $20 billion in emergency assistance (Kates et al., 2006); and economic, social, and environmental effects that are being felt more than 3 years later. Infrastructure can also fail if subjected to terrorist attack, as on September 11, 2001, with the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The National Infrastruc- ture Protection Plan developed by the Department of Homeland Security states: Protecting and ensuring the resiliency of the critical infrastruc- ture and key resources (CIKR) of the United States is essential to the Nationâs security, public health and safety, economic vitality, and way of life. Attacks on CIKR could significantly disrupt the functioning of government and business alike and produce cascading effects far beyond the targeted sector and physical location of the incident. Direct terrorist attacks and natural, manmade, or technological hazards could produce catastrophic losses in terms of human casualties, property destruction, and economic effects, as well as profound damage to public morale and confidence. Attacks using components of the Nationâs CIKR as weapons of mass destruction could have even more devastating physical and psychological con- sequences (DHS, 2009, p. 1). In summary, critical infrastructure systems matter because they directly affectâboth positively and negativelyâthe daily lives of all Americans. These systems provide the essential services for health, comfort, and prosperity. However, their deteriorating levels of condition and performance routinely 10 SUSTAINABLE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEMS
FIGURE 1.1â The scene of the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2007. SOURCE: Minnesota Department of Transportation. Available at http://www. dot.state.mn.us/i35wbridge/photos/aerial/aug-16/index.htm. Figure 1-1.eps high resoluton jpg bitmapped image inconvenience individuals, pose risks to communities during and after emergencies, and inhibit the nationâs capacity to move goods and services efficiently to domestic and international mar- kets. How the nation chooses to renew these systems will have a direct bearing on local, regional, and national economies and on the quality of life for more than 300 million Americans. Critical infrastructure system renewal will also have a direct impact on how the nation meets some other imperatives of the 21st century, as described in Chapter 2. ORIGIN AND BACKGROUND OF THE REPORT This report grew out of discussions held in 2006 and 2007 among current and former staff of the National Science Founda- tion, the Construction Industry Institute, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment of the National Research w h y critical infrastructure systems matter 11
Council (NRC). In 2007, the NRC appointed an ad hoc commit- tee of experts (Appendix A provides biosketches of the commit- tee members) to identify and frame fundamental challenges in moving toward critical infrastructure systems that are physically, socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. As its principal data-gathering activity, the committee con- ducted a workshop on May 7 and 8, 2008, in Washington, D.C., bringing together approximately 50 experts from government, academia, and the private sector (Appendix B presents the list of participants). The committee developed a draft set of critical infrastructure-related challenges to serve as the starting point for a series of breakout sessions during the workshop. The par- ticipants commented on and modified the draft challenges and identified potential lines of inquiryâpolicies, processes, financ- ing mechanisms, technologies, materials, and researchâthat might be used to address the challenges (Appendix C contains the workshop agenda and a list of the draft challenges). This report summarizes the committeeâs findings based on the workshop outcomes (Appendix D provides a succinct presen- tation of the outcomes), published materials, and the expertise and experience of its members. It provides a new context for thinking about the purposes and value of critical infrastructure systems: It does so by focusing on the links between some of the imperatives of the 21st century (economic competitiveness, global climate change, reducing U.S. dependence on imported oil, disaster resiliency, and environmental sustainability) and the performance of critical infrastructure systems. The report focuses on broad concepts; others have written about these issues in much greater detail in various studies and articles. The report does not make specific recommendations, but instead it identi- fies a framework for developing a new paradigm for investing in and renewing critical infrastructure systems in ways that will also help meet other 21st century challenges. The committee defined sustainable as meeting todayâs economic, social, and environmental needs while enhancing the ability of future generations to meet their economic, social, and environmental needs. 12 SUSTAINABLE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEMS