by John Latta and Tina Grady Barbaccia
Inside the highway and bridge industries
ransportation is not the only
infrastructure in desperate
need of funds.
A new report says that the cost of
repairing and expanding our buried
drinking water infrastructure over
the next 25 years will be more than
a trillion dollars. And higher water
bills (as much as three times) and local fees will pick up most of the tab.
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) report, Buried No Longer, says the $1 trillion figure assumes
pipes being replaced at the end of
their useful lives. “Because pipe assets last a long time, water systems
that were built in the latter part of
the 19th century and throughout
much of the 20th century have, for
the most part, never experienced the
need for pipe replacement on a large
Postponing infrastructure investment in the near-term raises the
overall cost and increases the likelihood of water main breaks and other
infrastructure failures, says the report.
Among the key findings:
exceed $1.7 trillion. Replacement
needs account for about 54 percent of the total, with the balance
attributable to population changes.
more than 84 percent of a $278
billion need in the Northeast
and Midwest through 2035. In
the South and West, expansion
to meet a growing population
amounts to about 62 percent of a
projected $277 billion cost over
investment will double from
roughly $13 billion a year today
to almost $30 billion annually by
the 2040s (in 2010 dollars).
on past investment, community
size and geographic region. In
some communities the infrastructure costs alone could triple the
size of a typical family’s bill.
far apart, small, rural communities, will be hardest hit because
they have more pipe miles per
customer than large, urban systems.
see their drinking water bills increase between $300 and $550
per year above current levels.
You can find the full report at
ou hit a pothole, you fill
the air with your frustration, and at the same time
your smart phone, untouched, is
transmitting pothole details.
Boston is testing an app called
Street Bump, which uses sensors embedded in mobile devices
to identify vibrations that could
indicate potholes or other road
hazards. And all you have to do is
turn it on before you drive.
communication, the app combines
the vibrations it detects with GPS
data and transmits the information
back to the city. A software algorithm then deciphers whether a
pothole is present. If so, a Boston
Public Works Department employee is alerted so a repair crew can
The Street Bump app was developed by Boston Mayor Thomas
Menino’s Office of New Urban
Mechanics, with Fabio Carrera,
a local professor at Worcester
Polytechnic Institute. Although
only in the pilot program stage,
the idea is to not only speed up
road repairs in Boston, but also to
develop a real-time map of street
conditions that can be accessed
by local users and for other cities
around the world that are using
the app. It runs on Android devices, but an iPhone version is expected when the finalized version
of app appears later this year.
For more details on the development and work
of the Street Bump app go to www.govtech.com/
Better Roads April 2012 5