Infrastructure

Infrastructure

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Encyclopedia
Infrastructure is basic physical and organization
Organization
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

al structures needed for the operation of a society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

 or enterprise
Business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...

, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 to function. It can be generally defined as the set of interconnected structural elements that provide framework supporting an entire structure of development.

The term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

s, water supply
Water supply
Water supply is the provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavours or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes...

, sewers
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

, electrical grids, telecommunication
Telecommunication
Telecommunication is the transmission of information over significant distances to communicate. In earlier times, telecommunications involved the use of visual signals, such as beacons, smoke signals, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, and optical heliographs, or audio messages via coded...

s, and so forth, and can be defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions."

Viewed functionally, infrastructure facilitates the production
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 of goods and services, and also the distribution of finished products to market
Market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

s, as well as basic social services such as school
School
A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools...

s and hospital
Hospital
A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment. Hospitals often, but not always, provide for inpatient care or longer-term patient stays....

s; for example, roads enable the transport of raw material
Raw material
A raw material or feedstock is the basic material from which a product is manufactured or made, frequently used with an extended meaning. For example, the term is used to denote material that came from nature and is in an unprocessed or minimally processed state. Latex, iron ore, logs, and crude...

s to a factory
Factory
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production...

. In military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 parlance, the term refers to the buildings and permanent installations necessary for the support, redeployment, and operation of military forces.

History of the term


According to the Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
The Online Etymology Dictionary is an online dictionary that describes the origins of English-language words. The abbreviation, OED, coincides with the frequently used acronym for the Oxford English Dictionary.-Description:...

, the word infrastructure has been used in English since at least 1927, originally meaning "The installations that form the basis for any operation or system".

Other sources, such as the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

, trace the word's origins to earlier usage, originally applied in a military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 sense. The word was imported from French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, where it means subgrade
Subgrade
In transport engineering, subgrade is the native material underneath a constructed road, pavement or railway track. It is also called formation level.The term can also refer to imported material that has been used to build an embankment....

, the native material underneath a constructed pavement or railway. The word is a combination of the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 prefix "infra", meaning "below", and "structure". The military use of the term achieved currency in the United States after the formation of NATO in the 1940s, and was then adopted by urban planners
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 in its modern civilian sense by 1970.

The term came to prominence in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in the 1980s following the publication of America in Ruins, which initiated a public-policy discussion of the nation’s "infrastructure crisis", purported to be caused by decades of inadequate investment and poor maintenance of public works
Public works
Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

. This crisis discussion as contributed to the increase in infrastructure asset management and maintenance planning in the US.

That public-policy discussion was hampered by lack of a precise definition for infrastructure. A US National Research Council
United States National Research Council
The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

 panel sought to clarify the situation by adopting the term "public works infrastructure", referring to:

"... both specific functional modes – highways, streets, roads, and bridges; mass transit; airports and airways; water supply and water resources; wastewater management; solid-waste treatment and disposal; electric power generation and transmission; telecommunications; and hazardous waste management – and the combined system these modal elements comprise. A comprehension of infrastructure spans not only these public works facilities, but also the operating procedures, management practices, and development policies that interact together with societal demand and the physical world to facilitate the transport of people and goods, provision of water for drinking and a variety of other uses, safe disposal of society's waste products, provision of energy where it is needed, and transmission of information within and between communities."


In Keynesian economics
Keynesian economics
Keynesian economics is a school of macroeconomic thought based on the ideas of 20th-century English economist John Maynard Keynes.Keynesian economics argues that private sector decisions sometimes lead to inefficient macroeconomic outcomes and, therefore, advocates active policy responses by the...

, the word infrastructure was exclusively used to describe public assets that facilitate production, but not private assets of the same purpose. In post-Keynesian times, however, the word has grown in popularity. It has been applied with increasing generality to suggest the internal framework discernible in any technology system or business organization.

"Hard" versus "soft" infrastructure


In this article, "hard" infrastructure refers to the large physical networks necessary for the functioning of a modern industrial nation, whereas "soft" infrastructure refers to all the institution
Institution
An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

s which are required to maintain the economic, health, and cultural and social standards of a country, such as the financial system
Financial system
In finance, the financial system is the system that allows the transfer of money between savers and borrowers. A financial system can operate on a global, regional or firm specific level...

, the education system, the health care system
Health care system
A health care system is the organization of people, institutions, and resources to deliver health care services to meet the health needs of target populations....

, the system of government, and law enforcement
Law enforcement
Law enforcement broadly refers to any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to promote adherence to the law by discovering and punishing persons who violate the rules and norms governing that society...

, as well as emergency services.

Types of hard infrastructure


The following list of hard infrastructure is limited to capital asset
Capital asset
The term capital asset has three unrelated technical definitions, and is also used in a variety of non-technical ways.*In financial economics, it refers to any asset used to make money, as opposed to assets used for personal enjoyment or consumption...

s that serve the function of conveyance
Conveyancing
In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of property from one person to another, or the granting of an encumbrance such as a mortgage or a lien....

 or channelling of people, vehicles, fluids, energy, or information
Information Infrastructure
An information infrastructure is defined by Hanseth as "a shared, evolving, open, standardized, and heterogeneous installed base" and by Pironti as all of the people, processes, procedures, tools, facilities, and technology which supports the creation, use, transport, storage, and destruction of...

, and which take the form either of a network or of a critical node
Vertex (graph theory)
In graph theory, a vertex or node is the fundamental unit out of which graphs are formed: an undirected graph consists of a set of vertices and a set of edges , while a directed graph consists of a set of vertices and a set of arcs...

 used by vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

s, or used for the transmission of electro-magnetic waves
Electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy that exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space...

.

Infrastructure systems include both the fixed assets, and the control systems and software required to operate, manage and monitor the systems, as well as any accessory buildings, plants, or vehicles that are an essential part of the system. Also included are fleets of vehicles operating according to schedules such as public transit buses and garbage collection, as well as basic energy or communications facilities that are not usually part of a physical network, such as oil refineries
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

, radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

, and television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 broadcasting
Broadcasting
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

 facilities.

Transportation infrastructure

  • Road
    Road
    A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

     and highway
    Highway
    A highway is any public road. In American English, the term is common and almost always designates major roads. In British English, the term designates any road open to the public. Any interconnected set of highways can be variously referred to as a "highway system", a "highway network", or a...

     networks, including structures (bridge
    Bridge
    A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle...

    s, tunnel
    Tunnel
    A tunnel is an underground passageway, completely enclosed except for openings for egress, commonly at each end.A tunnel may be for foot or vehicular road traffic, for rail traffic, or for a canal. Some tunnels are aqueducts to supply water for consumption or for hydroelectric stations or are sewers...

    s, culvert
    Culvert
    A culvert is a device used to channel water. It may be used to allow water to pass underneath a road, railway, or embankment. Culverts can be made of many different materials; steel, polyvinyl chloride and concrete are the most common...

    s, retaining wall
    Retaining wall
    Retaining walls are built in order to hold back earth which would otherwise move downwards. Their purpose is to stabilize slopes and provide useful areas at different elevations, e.g...

    s), signage and markings, electrical systems (street lighting and traffic light
    Traffic light
    Traffic lights, which may also be known as stoplights, traffic lamps, traffic signals, signal lights, robots or semaphore, are signalling devices positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossings and other locations to control competing flows of traffic...

    s), edge treatments (curbs, sidewalks, landscaping
    Landscaping
    Landscaping refers to any activity that modifies the visible features of an area of land, including:# living elements, such as flora or fauna; or what is commonly referred to as gardening, the art and craft of growing plants with a goal of creating a beautiful environment within the landscape.#...

    ), and specialized facilities such as road maintenance depot
    Road maintenance depot
    A road maintenance depot is a depot used by road maintenance agencies for storing works equipment and organising maintenance operations. Road maintenance depots can range in size from small sheds storing just a few pieces of equipment, to vast buildings housing computer and closed-circuit...

    s and rest area
    Rest area
    A rest area, travel plaza, rest stop, or service area is a public facility, located next to a large thoroughfare such as a highway, expressway, or freeway at which drivers and passengers can rest, eat, or refuel without exiting on to secondary roads...

    s
  • Mass transit systems
    Public transport
    Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

     (Commuter rail systems, subways
    Rapid transit
    A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

    , tram
    Tram
    A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

    ways, trolleys
    Tram
    A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

     and bus
    Bus
    A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

     transportation)
  • Railways
    Rail transport
    Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

    , including structures, terminal facilities (rail yard
    Rail yard
    A rail yard, or railroad yard, is a complex series of railroad tracks for storing, sorting, or loading/unloading, railroad cars and/or locomotives. Railroad yards have many tracks in parallel for keeping rolling stock stored off the mainline, so that they do not obstruct the flow of traffic....

    s, train station
    Train station
    A train station, also called a railroad station or railway station and often shortened to just station,"Station" is commonly understood to mean "train station" unless otherwise qualified. This is evident from dictionary entries e.g...

    s), level crossing
    Level crossing
    A level crossing occurs where a railway line is intersected by a road or path onone level, without recourse to a bridge or tunnel. It is a type of at-grade intersection. The term also applies when a light rail line with separate right-of-way or reserved track crosses a road in the same fashion...

    s, signalling and communications systems
  • Canals and navigable waterways requiring continuous maintenance (dredging, etc)
  • Seaports
    Port
    A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

     and lighthouse
    Lighthouse
    A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

    s
  • Airports, including air navigation
    Air navigation
    The basic principles of air navigation are identical to general navigation, which includes the process of planning, recording, and controlling the movement of a craft from one place to another....

    al systems
  • Bicycle paths
    Segregated cycle facilities
    Segregated cycle facilities are marked lanes, tracks, shoulders and paths designated for use by cyclists from which motorised traffic is generally excluded...

     and pedestrian walkways
  • Ferries
    Ferry
    A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...



For canals, railroads, highways, airways and pipelines see Grübler (1990), which provides a detailed discussion of the history and importance of these major infrastructures.

Energy infrastructure

  • Electrical power network
    Electrical power industry
    The electric power industry provides the production and delivery of electric energy, often known as power, or electricity, in sufficient quantities to areas that need electricity through a grid connection. The grid distributes electrical energy to customers...

    , including generation plants
    Power station
    A power station is an industrial facility for the generation of electric energy....

    , electrical grid, substations
    Electrical substation
    A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions...

    , and local distribution
    Electricity distribution
    File:Electricity grid simple- North America.svg|thumb|380px|right|Simplified diagram of AC electricity distribution from generation stations to consumers...

    .
  • Natural gas
    Natural gas
    Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

     pipelines
    Pipeline transport
    Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

    , storage and distribution terminals, as well as the local distribution network. Some definitions may include the gas wells, as well as the fleets of ships and trucks transporting liquefied gas.
  • Petroleum
    Petroleum
    Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

     pipelines
    Pipeline transport
    Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

    , including associated storage and distribution terminals. Some definitions may include the oil wells, refineries, as well as the fleets of tanker ships and trucks.
  • Specialized coal
    Coal
    Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

     handling facilities for washing
    Coal preparation plant
    A coal preparation plant is a facility that washes coal of soil and rock, preparing it for transport to market. A CPP may also be called a "coal handling and preparation plant" , "prep plant," "tipple," or "wash plant"....

    , storing, and transporting coal. Some definitions may include Coal mines
    Coal mining
    The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

    .
  • Steam or hot water production and distribution networks for district heating
    District heating
    District heating is a system for distributing heat generated in a centralized location for residential and commercial heating requirements such as space heating and water heating...

     systems.
  • Electric vehicle network
    Electric vehicle network
    An electric vehicle network is a proposed infrastructure system of publicly accessible charging stations and possibly battery swap stations to recharge electric vehicles....

    s for charging
    Charging station
    An electric vehicle charging station, also called EV charging station, electric recharging point, charging point and EVSE , is an element in an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for the recharging of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric-gasoline vehicles) or semi-static and mobile...

     electric vehicle
    Electric vehicle
    An electric vehicle , also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion...

    s.


Coal mines, oil wells and natural gas wells may be classified as being part of the mining and industrial sector of the economy, not part of infrastructure.

Water management infrastructure

  • Drinking water supply
    Water supply network
    A water supply system or water supply network is a system of engineered hydrologic and hydraulic components which provide water supply. A water supply system typically includes:# A drainage basin ;...

    , including the system of pipes, storage reservoirs, pumps, valves, filtration
    Water purification
    Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, materials, and biological contaminants from contaminated water. The goal is to produce water fit for a specific purpose...

     and treatment equipment and meters, including buildings and structures to house the equipment, used for the collection, treatment and distribution of drinking water
  • Sewage
    Sewage
    Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

     collection, and disposal
    Sewage treatment
    Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

     of waste water
  • Drainage
    Storm drain
    A storm drain, storm sewer , stormwater drain or drainage well system or simply a drain or drain system is designed to drain excess rain and ground water from paved streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and roofs. Storm drains vary in design from small residential dry wells to large municipal systems...

     systems (storm sewers, ditches, etc)
  • Major irrigation
    Irrigation
    Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

     systems (reservoirs, irrigation canals)
  • Major flood control
    Flood control
    In communications, flood control is a feature of many communication protocols designed to prevent overwhelming of a destination receiver. Such controls can be implemented either in software or in hardware, and will often request that the message be resent after the receiver has finished...

     systems (dikes
    Levee
    A levee, levée, dike , embankment, floodbank or stopbank is an elongated naturally occurring ridge or artificially constructed fill or wall, which regulates water levels...

    , levee
    Levee
    A levee, levée, dike , embankment, floodbank or stopbank is an elongated naturally occurring ridge or artificially constructed fill or wall, which regulates water levels...

    s, major pumping stations and floodgates)
  • Large-scale snow removal
    Snow removal
    Snow removal is the job of removing snow after a snowfall to make travel easier and safer. This is done by both individual households and by governments and institutions.-De-icing and anti-icing:...

    , including fleets of salt spreaders, snow-plows, snowblowers, dedicated dump-trucks, sidewalk plows, the dispatching and routing systems for these fleets, as well as fixed assets such as snow dumps, snow chutes, snow melters
  • Coastal management
    Coastal management
    In some jurisdictions the terms sea defense and coastal protection are used to mean, respectively, defense against flooding and erosion...

    , including structures such as seawall
    Seawall
    A seawall is a form of coastal defence constructed where the sea, and associated coastal processes, impact directly upon the landforms of the coast. The purpose of a seawall is to protect areas of human habitation, conservation and leisure activities from the action of tides and waves...

    s, breakwaters
    Breakwater (structure)
    Breakwaters are structures constructed on coasts as part of coastal defence or to protect an anchorage from the effects of weather and longshore drift.-Purposes of breakwaters:...

    , groyne
    Groyne
    A groyne is a rigid hydraulic structure built from an ocean shore or from a bank that interrupts water flow and limits the movement of sediment. In the ocean, groynes create beaches, or avoid having them washed away by longshore drift. In a river, groynes prevent erosion and ice-jamming, which...

    s, floodgate
    Floodgate
    Floodgates are adjustable gates used to control water flow in flood barriers, reservoir, river, stream, or levee systems. They may be designed to set spillway crest heights in dams, to adjust flow rates in sluices and canals, or they may be designed to stop water flow entirely as part of a levee or...

    s, as well as the use of soft engineering
    Soft engineering
    In civil engineering of shorelines, soft engineering is the use of ecological principles and practices to reduce erosion and achieve the stabilization and safety of shorelines and the area surrounding rivers, while enhancing habitat, improving aesthetics, and saving money...

     techniques such as beach nourishment
    Beach nourishment
    Beach nourishment— also referred to as beach replenishment—describes a process by which sediment lost through longshore drift or erosion is replaced from sources outside of the eroding beach...

    , sand dune stabilization
    Sand dune stabilization
    Sand dunes are common features of shoreline and desert environments. Dunes provide habitat for highly specialized plants and animals, including rare and endangered species. They can protect beaches from erosion and recruit sand to eroded beaches. Dunes are threatened by human activity, both...

     and the protection of mangrove
    Mangrove
    Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

     forests and coastal wetlands.

Communications infrastructure

  • Postal service, including sorting facilities
  • Telephone
    Telephone
    The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

     networks (land lines) including telephone exchange
    Telephone exchange
    In the field of telecommunications, a telephone exchange or telephone switch is a system of electronic components that connects telephone calls...

     systems
  • Mobile phone
    Mobile phone
    A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

     networks
  • Television
    Television
    Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

     and radio
    Radio
    Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

     transmission stations, including the regulations and standards governing broadcasting
  • Cable television
    Cable television
    Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

     physical networks including receiving stations and cable distribution networks (does not include content providers or "networks" when used in the sense of a specialized channel such as CNN or MTV)
  • The Internet
    Internet
    The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

    , including the internet backbone
    Internet backbone
    The Internet backbone refers to the principal data routes between large, strategically interconnected networks and core routers in the Internet...

    , core router
    Core router
    A core router is a router designed to operate in the Internet backbone, or core. To fulfill this role, a router must be able to support multiple telecommunications interfaces of the highest speed in use in the core Internet and must be able to forward IP packets at full speed on all of them. It...

    s and server farms, local internet service providers as well as the protocols
    Internet protocol suite
    The Internet protocol suite is the set of communications protocols used for the Internet and other similar networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP from its most important protocols: Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol , which were the first networking protocols defined in this...

     and other basic software required for the system to function (does not include specific websites, although may include some widely-used web-based services, such as social network service
    Social network service
    A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, who, for example, share interests and/or activities. A social network service consists of a representation of each user , his/her social...

    s and web search engines)
  • Communications satellites
  • Undersea cables
    Submarine communications cable
    A submarine communications cable is a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean....

  • Major private, government or dedicated telecommunications networks, such as those used for internal communication and monitoring by major infrastructure companies, by governments, by the military or by emergency services, as well as national research and education network
    National Research and Education Network
    A National Research and Education Network is a specialised internet service provider dedicated to supporting the needs of the research and education communities within a country....

    s
  • Pneumatic tube
    Pneumatic tube
    Pneumatic tubes are systems in which cylindrical containers are propelled through a network of tubes by compressed air or by partial vacuum...

     mail distribution networks

Solid waste management

  • Municipal garbage and recyclables collection
    Waste collection
    Waste collection is the component of waste management which results in the passage of a waste material from the source of production to either the point of treatment or final disposal...

  • Solid waste landfill
    Landfill
    A landfill site , is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment...

    s
  • Solid waste incinerators
    Incineration
    Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration and other high temperature waste treatment systems are described as "thermal treatment". Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas, and...

     and plasma gasification
    Plasma arc waste disposal
    Plasma arc gasification or Plasma Gasification Process abbreviated PGP is a waste treatment technology that uses electrical energy and the high temperatures created by an electric arc gasifier. This arc breaks down waste primarily into elemental gas and solid waste , in a device called a plasma...

     facilities
  • Materials recovery facilities
  • Hazardous waste
    Hazardous waste
    A hazardous waste is waste that poses substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment. According to the U.S. environmental laws hazardous wastes fall into two major categories: characteristic wastes and listed wastes.Characteristic hazardous wastes are materials that are known...

     disposal facilities

Earth monitoring and measurement networks

  • Meteorological
    Weather station
    A weather station is a facility, either on land or sea, with instruments and equipment for observing atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and climate. The measurements taken include temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind...

     monitoring networks
  • Tidal monitoring
    Tide gauge
    A tide gauge is a device for measuring sea level and detecting tsunamis.Sensors continuously record the height of the water level with respect to a height reference surface close to the geoid...

     networks
  • Stream Gauge
    Stream gauge
    A stream gauge, stream gage or gauging station is a location used by hydrologists or environmental scientists to monitor and test terrestrial bodies of water. Hydrometric measurements of water surface elevation and/or volumetric discharge are generally taken and observations of biota may also be...

     or fluviometric monitoring networks
  • Seismometer
    Seismometer
    Seismometers are instruments that measure motions of the ground, including those of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other seismic sources...

     networks
  • Earth observation satellite
    Earth observation satellite
    Earth observation satellites are satellites specifically designed to observe Earth from orbit, similar to reconnaissance satellites but intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, map making etc....

    s
  • Geodetic
    Geodesy
    Geodesy , also named geodetics, a branch of earth sciences, is the scientific discipline that deals with the measurement and representation of the Earth, including its gravitational field, in a three-dimensional time-varying space. Geodesists also study geodynamical phenomena such as crustal...

     benchmarks
  • Global Positioning System
    Global Positioning System
    The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

  • Spatial Data Infrastructure
    Spatial Data Infrastructure
    A spatial data infrastructure is a framework of spatial data, metadata, users and tools that are interactively connected in order to use spatial data in an efficient and flexible way...


Types of soft infrastructure


Soft infrastructure includes both physical assets such as highly specialized buildings and equipment, as well as non-physical assets such as the body of rules and regulations governing the various systems, the financing of these systems, as well as the systems and organizations by which highly skilled and specialized professionals are trained, advance in their careers by acquiring experience, and are disciplined if required by professional associations (professional training, accreditation and discipline).

Unlike hard infrastructure, the essence of soft infrastructure is the delivery of specialized services to people. Unlike much of the service sector of the economy, the delivery of those services depend on highly developped systems and large specialised facilities or institutions that share many of the characteristics of hard infrastructure.

Governance infrastructure

  • The system of government
    Government
    Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

     and law enforcement
    Law enforcement agency
    In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

    , including the political, legislative, law enforcement, justice and penal systems, as well as specialized facilities (government offices, courthouses, prisons, etc), and specialized systems for collecting, storing and disseminating data, laws and regulation
  • Emergency services, such as police
    Police
    The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

    , fire protection
    Fire protection
    Fire protection is the study and practice of mitigating the unwanted effects of fires. It involves the study of the behaviour, compartmentalisation, suppression and investigation of fire and its related emergencies, as well as the research and development, production, testing and application of...

    , and ambulance
    Ambulance
    An ambulance is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, and in some instances will also provide out of hospital medical care to the patient...

    s, including specialized vehicles, buildings, communications and dispatching systems
  • Military
    Military
    A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

     infrastructure, including military base
    Military base
    A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. In general, a military base provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a...

    s, arms depots
    Armory (military)
    An armory or armoury is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, issued to authorized users, or any combination of those...

    , training facilities
    Military education and training
    Military education and training is a process which intends to establish and improve the capabilities of military personnel in their respective roles....

    , command center
    Command center
    A command center is any place that is used to provide centralized command for some purpose.While frequently considered to be a military facility, these can be used in many other cases by governments or businesses...

    s, communication facilities
    Military communications
    Historically, the first military communications had the form of sending/receiving simple signals . Respectively, the first distinctive tactics of military communications were called Signals, while units specializing in those tactics received the Signal Corps name...

    , major weapon
    Weapon
    A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

    s systems, fortifications, specialised arms manufacturing
    Arms industry
    The arms industry is a global industry and business which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology and equipment. It comprises government and commercial industry involved in research, development, production, and service of military material, equipment and facilities...

    , strategic reserve
    Strategic reserve
    For the military term see: Military reserveA strategic reserve is a term used to describe a reserve of a commodity or items, held back from normal use by governments, organisations or business in pursuance of a particular strategy or to cope with unexpected events.A strategic reserve can be:*...

    s

Economic infrastructure

  • The financial system
    Financial system
    In finance, the financial system is the system that allows the transfer of money between savers and borrowers. A financial system can operate on a global, regional or firm specific level...

    , including the banking system, financial institutions, the payment system
    Payment system
    A payment system is a system used for transferring money. What makes it a "system" is that it employs cash-substitutes; traditional payment systems are negotiable instruments such as drafts and documentary credits such as letter of credits. With the advent of computers and electronic...

    , exchanges
    Exchange (organized market)
    An exchange is a highly organized market where tradable securities, commodities, foreign exchange, futures, and options contracts are sold and bought.-Description:...

    , the money supply
    Money supply
    In economics, the money supply or money stock, is the total amount of money available in an economy at a specific time. There are several ways to define "money," but standard measures usually include currency in circulation and demand deposits .Money supply data are recorded and published, usually...

    , financial regulation
    Financial regulation
    Financial regulation is a form of regulation or supervision, which subjects financial institutions to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to maintain the integrity of the financial system...

    s, as well as accounting
    Accountancy
    Accountancy is the process of communicating financial information about a business entity to users such as shareholders and managers. The communication is generally in the form of financial statements that show in money terms the economic resources under the control of management; the art lies in...

     standards and regulations
  • Major business logistics
    Logistics
    Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

     facilities and systems, including warehouses as well as warehousing and shipping management systems
    Supply chain management
    Supply chain management is the management of a network of interconnected businesses involved in the ultimate provision of product and service packages required by end customers...

  • Manufacturing
    Manufacturing
    Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

     infrastructure, including industrial park
    Industrial park
    An industrial park is an area zoned and planned for the purpose of industrial development...

    s and special economic zones, mines and processing plants for basic materials used as inputs in industry, specialized energy, transportation and water infrastructure used by industry, plus the public safety, zoning and environmental laws and regulations that govern and limit industrial activity, and standards organizations
  • Agricultural, forestry
    Forestry
    Forestry is the interdisciplinary profession embracing the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands...

     and fisheries infrastructure, including specialized food and livestock transportation and storage facilities, major feedlot
    Feedlot
    A feedlot or feedyard is a type of animal feeding operation which is used in factory farming for finishing livestock, notably beef cattle, but also swine, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens or ducks, prior to slaughter. Large beef feedlots are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations . They...

    s, agricultural price support systems (including agricultural insurance), agricultural health standards, food inspection
    Food safety
    Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....

    , experimental farms and agricultural research centers and schools, the system of licencing and quota management, enforcement systems against poaching, forest wardens, and fire fighting

Social infrastructure

  • The health care
    Health care
    Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

     system, including hospital
    Hospital
    A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment. Hospitals often, but not always, provide for inpatient care or longer-term patient stays....

    s, the financing of health care, including health insurance
    Health insurance
    Health insurance is insurance against the risk of incurring medical expenses among individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health care expenses among a targeted group, an insurer can develop a routine finance structure, such as a monthly premium or payroll tax, to ensure that money is...

    , the systems for regulation and testing of medications and medical procedures, the system for training, inspection and professional discipline of doctors and other medical professionals, public health monitoring and regulations, as well as coordination of measures taken during public health
    Public health
    Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

     emergencies such as epidemics
  • The educational and research system, including elementary and secondary school
    Secondary school
    Secondary school is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place...

    s, universities
    University
    A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

    , specialised college
    College
    A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

    s, research institutions, the systems for financing and accrediting educational institutions
  • Social welfare systems, including both government support and private charity for the poor, for people in distress or victims of abuse

Cultural, sports and recreational infrastructure

  • Sports and recreational infrastructure, such as park
    Park
    A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by...

    s, sports facilities, the system of sports leagues and associations
  • Cultural infrastructure, such as concert halls, museum
    Museum
    A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

    s, libraries
    Library
    In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

    , theatres, studios, and specialized training facilities
  • Business travel and tourism infrastructure, including both man-made and natural attractions, convention centers, hotels, restaurants and other services that cater mainly to tourists and business travellers, as well as the systems for informing and attracting tourists, and travel insurance

Engineering and construction


Engineers generally limit the use of the term "infrastructure" to describe fixed assets that are in the form of a large network, in other words, "hard" infrastructure. Recent efforts to devise more generic definitions of infrastructure have typically referred to the network aspects of most of the structures, and to the accumulated value of investments in the networks as assets. One such effort defines infrastructure as the network of assets "where the system as a whole is intended to be maintained indefinitely at a specified standard of service by the continuing replacement and refurbishment of its components".

Civil defense and economic development


Civil defense
Civil defense
Civil defense, civil defence or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state from military attack. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation, and recovery...

 planners and developmental economists
Development economics
Development Economics is a branch of economics which deals with economic aspects of the development process in low-income countries. Its focus is not only on methods of promoting economic growth and structural change but also on improving the potential for the mass of the population, for example,...

 generally refer to both hard and soft infrastructure, including public services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 such as schools and hospitals, emergency services such as police and fire fighting, and basic financial services
Financial services
Financial services refer to services provided by the finance industry. The finance industry encompasses a broad range of organizations that deal with the management of money. Among these organizations are credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, consumer finance companies,...

.

Military


Military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 strategists use the term infrastructure to refer to all building and permanent installations necessary for the support of military forces, whether they are stationed in bases, being deployed or engaged in operations, such as barracks, headquarters, airfields, communications facilities, stores of military equipment, port installations, and maintenance stations.

Critical infrastructure



The term critical infrastructure has been widely adopted to distinguish those infrastructure elements that, if significantly damaged or destroyed, would cause serious disruption of the dependent system or organization. Storm
Storm
A storm is any disturbed state of an astronomical body's atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather...

, flood
Flood
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water...

, or earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 damage leading to loss of certain transportation routes in a city, for example bridges crossing a river, could make it impossible for people to evacuate, and for emergency service
Emergency service
Emergency services are organizations which ensure public safety and health by addressing different emergencies. Some agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies whilst others deal with ad hoc emergencies as part of their normal responsibilities...

s to operate; these routes would be deemed critical infrastructure. Similarly, an on-line booking system might be critical infrastructure for an airline
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

.

Urban infrastructure


Urban or municipal infrastructure refers to hard infrastructure systems generally owned and operated by municipalities
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

, such as streets, water distribution, and sewers. It may also include some of the facilities associated with soft infrastructure, such as parks, public pools and libraries.

Green infrastructure



Green infrastructure is a concept that highlights the importance of the natural environment in decisions about land use planning
Land use planning
Land-use planning is the term used for a branch of public policy encompassing various disciplines which seek to order and regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land-use conflicts. Governments use land-use planning to manage the development of land within their...

. In particular there is an emphasis on the "life support" functions provided by a network of natural ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s, with an emphasis on interconnectivity
Interconnectivity
Interconnectivity is a concept that is used in numerous fields such as cybernetics, biology, ecology, network theory, and non-linear dynamics. The concept can be summarized as that all parts of a system interact with and rely on one another simply by the fact that they occupy the same system, and...

 to support long-term sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

. Examples include clean water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and healthy soils, as well as the more anthropocentric
Anthropocentrism
Anthropocentrism describes the tendency for human beings to regard themselves as the central and most significant entities in the universe, or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective....

 functions such as recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

 and providing shade and shelter in and around towns and cities. The concept can be extended to apply to the management of stormwater
Stormwater
Stormwater is water that originates during precipitation events. It may also be used to apply to water that originates with snowmelt that enters the stormwater system...

 runoff at the local level through the use of natural systems, or engineered systems that mimic natural systems, to treat polluted runoff
Urban runoff
Urban runoff is surface runoff of rainwater created by urbanization. This runoff is a major source of water pollution in many parts of the United States and other urban communities worldwide.-Overview:...

.

Marxism


In Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

, the term infrastructure is sometimes used as a synonym for "base" in the dialectic
Dialectic
Dialectic is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Indic and European philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues...

 synthetic pair base and superstructure
Base and superstructure
In Marxist theory, human society consists of two parts: the base and superstructure; the base comprehends the forces and relations of production — employer-employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations — into which people enter to produce the necessities and...

. However the Marxist notion of base is broader than the non-Marxist use of the term infrastructure, and some soft infrastructure, such as laws, governance, regulations and standards, would be considered by Marxists to be part of the superstructure, not the base.

Other uses


In other applications, the term infrastructure may refer to information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

, informal and formal channels of communication, software development tools, political and social network
Social network
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...

s, or beliefs held by members of particular groups. Still underlying these more conceptual uses is the idea that infrastructure provides organizing structure and support for the system or organization it serves, whether it is a city
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

, a nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

, a corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

, or a collection of people with common interests. Examples include IT infrastructure
Information technology management
IT management is the discipline whereby all of the technology resources of a firm are managed in accordance with its needs and priorities. These resources may include tangible investments like computer hardware, software, data, networks and data centre facilities, as well as the staffs who are...

, research infrastructure, terrorist infrastructure, and tourism infrastructure.

Related concepts


The term infrastructure is often confused with the following overlapping or related concepts.

Land improvement and land development



The terms land improvement and land development are general terms that in some contexts may include infrastructure, but in the context of a discussion of infrastructure would refer only to smaller scale systems or works that are not included in infrastructure because they are typically limited to a single parcel of land
Real property
In English Common Law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is any subset of land that has been legally defined and the improvements to it made by human efforts: any buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, roads, various property rights, and so forth...

, and are owned and operated by the land owner. For example, an irrigation canal that serves a region or district would be included with infrastructure, but the private irrigation systems on individual land parcels would be considered land improvements, not infrastructure. Service connections to municipal service and public utility networks would also be considered land improvements, not infrastructure.

Public works and public services



The term public works includes government owned and operated infrastructure as well as public buildings such as schools and court houses. Public works generally refers to physical assets needed to deliver public services. Public services include both infrastructure and services generally provided by government.

Capital assets that provide services


These are physical assets that provide services. The people employed in the hard infrastructure sector generally maintain, monitor, and operate the assets, but do not offer services to the clients or users of the infrastructure. Interactions between workers and clients are generally limited to administrative tasks concerning ordering, scheduling, or billing of services.

Large networks


These are large networks constructed over generations, and are not often replaced as a whole system. The network provides services to a geographically defined area, and has a long life because its service capacity is maintained by continual refurbishment or replacement of components as they wear out.

Historicity and interdependence


The system or network tends to evolve over time as it is continuously modified, improved, enlarged, and as various components are rebuilt, decommissioned or adapted to other uses. The system components are interdependent and not usually capable of subdivision or separate disposal, and consequently are not readily disposable within the commercial marketplace. The system interdependency may limit a component life to a lesser period than the expected life of the component itself.

Natural monopoly


The systems tend to be natural monopolies
Natural monopoly
A monopoly describes a situation where all sales in a market are undertaken by a single firm. A natural monopoly by contrast is a condition on the cost-technology of an industry whereby it is most efficient for production to be concentrated in a single form...

, insofar that economies of scale
Economies of scale
Economies of scale, in microeconomics, refers to the cost advantages that an enterprise obtains due to expansion. There are factors that cause a producer’s average cost per unit to fall as the scale of output is increased. "Economies of scale" is a long run concept and refers to reductions in unit...

 means that multiple agencies providing a service are less efficient than would be the case if a single agency provided the service. This is because the assets have a high initial cost and a value that is difficult to determine. Once most of the system is built, the marginal cost of servicing additional clients or users tends to be relatively inexpensive, and may be negligible if there is no need to increase the peak capacity or the geographical extent of the network.

In public economics theory, infrastructure assets such as highways and railways tend to be public goods, in that they carry a high degree of non-excludability, where no household can be excluded from using it, and non-rivalry, where no household can reduce another from enjoying it. These properties lead to externality
Externality
In economics, an externality is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices, incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit...

, free ridership
Free rider problem
In economics, collective bargaining, psychology, and political science, a free rider is someone who consumes a resource without paying for it, or pays less than the full cost. The free rider problem is the question of how to limit free riding...

, and spillover
Spillover effect
Spillover effects are externalities of economic activity or processes that affect those who are not directly involved. Odours from a rendering plant are negative spillover effects upon its neighbours; the beauty of a homeowner's flower garden is a positive spillover effect upon neighbours.In the...

 effects that distort perfect competition and market efficiency. Hence, government becomes the best actor to supply the public goods.

Economics, management, engineering, and impacts


The following concerns mainly hard infrastructure and the specialized facilities used for soft infrastructure.

Ownership and financing



Infrastructure may be owned and managed by government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

s or by private companies, such as public utility
Public utility
A public utility is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service . Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to state-wide government monopolies...

 or railway
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 companies. Generally, most roads, major ports and airports, water distribution systems and sewage networks are publicly owned, whereas most energy and telecommunications networks are privately owned. Publicly owned infrastructure may be paid for from taxes, tolls, or metered user fees, whereas private infrastructure is generally paid for by metered user fees. Major investment projects are generally financed by the issuance of long-term bonds
Bond (finance)
In finance, a bond is a debt security, in which the authorized issuer owes the holders a debt and, depending on the terms of the bond, is obliged to pay interest to use and/or to repay the principal at a later date, termed maturity...

.

An interesting comparison between privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 versus government-sponsored public works
Public works
Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

 involves high speed rail (HSR) projects in East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

. In 1998, the Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 government awarded the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation
Taiwan High Speed Rail
Taiwan High Speed Rail is a high-speed rail line that runs approximately along the west coast of the Republic of China from the national capital of Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung...

, a private organization, to construct the 345 km line from Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

 to Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung is a city located in southwestern Taiwan, facing the Taiwan Strait on the west. Kaohsiung, officially named Kaohsiung City, is divided into thirty-eight districts. The city is one of five special municipalities of the Republic of China...

 in a 35-year concession contract. Conversely, in 2004 the South Korean government charged the Korean High Speed Rail Construction Authority
Korea Train Express
Korea Train eXpress is South Korea's high-speed rail system, operated by Korail. Construction began on the first section of the high-speed line from Seoul to Busan in 1992. The project was later split into two phases and combined with conventional line upgrades, adding a second route from Seoul to...

, a public entity, to construct its high speed rail line, 412 km from Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

 to Busan
Busan
Busan , formerly spelled Pusan is South Korea's second largest metropolis after Seoul, with a population of around 3.6 million. The Metropolitan area population is 4,399,515 as of 2010. It is the largest port city in South Korea and the fifth largest port in the world...

, in two phases. While different implementation strategies, Taiwan successfully delivered the HSR project in terms of project management
Project management
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end , undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value...

 (time, cost, and quality), whereas South Korea successfully delivered its HSR project in terms of product success (meeting owners' and users' needs, particularly in ridership). Additionally, South Korea successfully created a technology transfer
Technology transfer
Technology Transfer, also called Transfer of Technology and Technology Commercialisation, is the process of skill transferring, knowledge, technologies, methods of manufacturing, samples of manufacturing and facilities among governments or universities and other institutions to ensure that...

 of high speed rail technology from French engineers, essentially creating an industry of HSR manufacturing capable of exporting knowledge, equipment, and parts worldwide.

Henceforth, government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 owned and operated infrastructure may be developed and operated in the private sector
Private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

 or in public-private partnership
Public-private partnership
Public–private partnership describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies...

s, in addition to in the public sector
Public sector
The public sector, sometimes referred to as the state sector, is a part of the state that deals with either the production, delivery and allocation of goods and services by and for the government or its citizens, whether national, regional or local/municipal.Examples of public sector activity range...

. In the United States, public spending on infrastructure has varied between 2.3% and 3.6% of GDP since 1950. Many financial institutions invest in infrastructure.

Role of pension funds


The average allocation
Resource allocation
Resource allocation is used to assign the available resources in an economic way. It is part of resource management. In project management, resource allocation is the scheduling of activities and the resources required by those activities while taking into consideration both the resource...

 to infrastructure only represents 1% of total assets under management
Assets under management
Assets under management is a financial term used denote the market value of funds being managed by a financial instutition on behalf of its clients, investors, depositors, etc. This metric is a sign of size and success against competition...

 by pensions- excluding indirect investment through ownership of stocks of listed utility and infrastructure companies. But there are wide typology differences across regions with many large, sophisticated, pension funds in jurisdictions such as Ontario, Quebec, California, Holland, and Australia already investing more than 5% of their total assets (and typically more than a third of their “alternative” assets) in infrastructure. In countries such as the US, Mexico, Sweden and Norway, there has been a rapid rise of the allocation to infrastructure since 2010, even among more traditional pension funds.

Most pension funds have long-dated liabilities, with matching long-term investments. These large institutional investors need to protect the long-term value of their investments from inflationary debasement of currency and market fluctuations, and provide recurrent cash flow
Cash flow
Cash flow is the movement of money into or out of a business, project, or financial product. It is usually measured during a specified, finite period of time. Measurement of cash flow can be used for calculating other parameters that give information on a company's value and situation.Cash flow...

s to pay for retiree benefits in the short-medium term: from that perspective, infrastructure is an ideal asset class that provides tangible advantages such as long duration (thus facilitating cash flow matching with long-term liabilities), protection against inflation and statistical diversification
Diversification (finance)
In finance, diversification means reducing risk by investing in a variety of assets. If the asset values do not move up and down in perfect synchrony, a diversified portfolio will have less risk than the weighted average risk of its constituent assets, and often less risk than the least risky of...

 (low correlation with ‘traditional’ listed assets such as equity and fixed income investments), thus reducing overall portfolio volatility.

The various types of pension plans (public and private pensions and superannuation schemes) account for approximately 40% of all investors in the infrastructure asset class, excluding projects directly funded and developed by governments and public authorities.

Infrastructure Debt


Infrastructure debt is a complex investment category reserved for highly sophisticated institutional investors who can gauge jurisdiction-specific risk parameters, assess a project’s long-term viability, understand transaction risks, conduct due diligence, negotiate (multi)creditors’ agreements, make timely decisions on consents and waivers, and analyze loan performance over time.

Research conducted by the World Pensions and Investments Forum suggests that most UK and European pensions wishing to gain a degree of exposure to infrastructure debt have done so indirectly, through investments made in infrastructure funds managed by specialized Canadian, US and Australian funds.

On Nov. 29 2011, the British government unveiled an unprecedented plan to encourage large-scale pension investments in new roads, hospitals, airports, etc. across the UK. The plan is aimed at enticing 20 billion pounds ($30.97 billion) of investment in domestic infrastructure projects.

Infrastructure asset management



The method of infrastructure asset management is based upon the definition of a Standard of service (SoS)
Standard of service
A Standard of Service is used in Infrastructure Asset Management to define the service that a customer is entitled to receive. Examples could be:...

 that describes how an asset will perform in objective and measurable terms. The SoS includes the definition of a minimum condition grade, which is established by considering the consequences of a failure of the infrastructure asset.

The key components of infrastructure asset management are:
  • Definition of a standard of service
    • Establishment of measurable specifications of how the asset should perform
    • Establishment of a minimum condition grade
  • Establishment of a whole-life cost
    Whole-life cost
    Whole-life cost, or Life-cycle cost , refers to the total cost of ownership over the life of an asset . Also commonly referred to as "cradle to grave" or "womb to tomb" costs. Costs considered include the financial cost which is relatively simple to calculate and also the environmental and...

     approach to managing the asset
  • Elaboration of an Asset Management Plan
    Asset Management Plan
    An Asset Management Plan is a tactical plan for managing an organisation's infrastructure and other assets to deliver an agreed standard of service...



The 2009 report card produced by the American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Civil Engineers
The American Society of Civil Engineers is a professional body founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. It is the oldest national engineering society in the United States. ASCE's vision is to have engineers positioned as global leaders who strive toward...

  gave America's Infrastructure a grade of "D".

Engineering


Most infrastructure is designed by engineers, urbanists or architects. Generally road and rail transport networks, as well as water and waste management infrastructure are designed by civil engineers
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

, electrical power and lighting networks are designed by power engineers
Power engineering
Power engineering, also called power systems engineering, is a subfield of engineering that deals with the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power as well as the electrical devices connected to such systems including generators, motors and transformers...

 and electrical engineers
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

, and telecommunications, computing and monitoring networks are designed by systems engineers.

In the case of urban infrastructure, the general layout of roads, sidewalks and public places may sometimes be designed by urbanists
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 or architects
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

, although the detailed design will still be performed by civil engineers. If a building is required, it is designed by an architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

, and if an industrial or processing plant is required, it may be designed by industrial engineer or a process engineer.

In terms of engineering tasks, the design and construction management process usually follows these steps:

Preliminary Studies
  • Determine existing and future traffic loads, determine existing capacity, and estimate the existing and future standards of service
  • Conduct a preliminary survey and obtain information from existing air photos, maps, and plans
  • Identify possible conflicts with other assets or topographical features
  • Perform environmental impact studies:
    • Evaluate the impact on the human environment (noise pollution
      Noise
      In common use, the word noise means any unwanted sound. In both analog and digital electronics, noise is random unwanted perturbation to a wanted signal; it is called noise as a generalisation of the acoustic noise heard when listening to a weak radio transmission with significant electrical noise...

      , odors, electromagnetic interference, etc)
    • Evaluate the impact
      Environmental impact assessment
      An environmental impact assessment is an assessment of the possible positive or negative impact that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the natural, social and economic aspects....

       on the natural environment
      Natural environment
      The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

       (disturbance of natural ecosystems)
    • Evaluate the possible presence of contaminated soils
      Soil contamination
      Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....

      ;
    • Given various time horizons, standards of service
      Standard of service
      A Standard of Service is used in Infrastructure Asset Management to define the service that a customer is entitled to receive. Examples could be:...

      , environmental impacts, and conflicts with existing structures or terrain, propose various preliminary designs
    • Estimate the costs of the various designs, and make recommendations


Detailed Survey
  • Perform a detailed survey
    Surveying
    See Also: Public Land Survey SystemSurveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them...

     of the construction site
  • Obtain "as built" drawings of existing infrastructure
  • Dig exploratory pits where required to survey underground infrastructure
  • Perform a geotechnical survey to determine the bearing capacity of soils and rock
  • Perform soil sampling and testing to estimate nature, degree and extent of soil contamination
    Soil contamination
    Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....



Detailed Engineering
  • Prepare detailed plans
    Engineering drawing
    An engineering drawing, a type of technical drawing, is used to fully and clearly define requirements for engineered items.Engineering drawing produces engineering drawings . More than just the drawing of pictures, it is also a language—a graphical language that communicates ideas and information...

     and technical specifications
  • Prepare a detailed bill of materials
    Bill of materials
    A bill of materials is a list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end product...

  • Prepare a detailed cost estimate
    Cost
    In production, research, retail, and accounting, a cost is the value of money that has been used up to produce something, and hence is not available for use anymore. In business, the cost may be one of acquisition, in which case the amount of money expended to acquire it is counted as cost. In this...

  • Establish a general work schedule
    Schedule (project management)
    In project management, a schedule consists of a list of a project's terminal elements with intended start and finish dates. Terminal elements are the lowest element in a schedule, which is not further subdivided...



Authorization
  • Obtain authorization from environmental and other regulatory agencies
  • Obtain authorization from any owners or operators of assets affected by the work
  • Inform emergency services, and prepare contingency plans in case of emergencies


Tendering
  • Prepare administrative clauses and other tendering documents
  • Organize and announce a call for tenders
  • Answer contractor questions and issue addenda during the tendering process
  • Receive and analyse tenders, and make a recommendation to the owner


Construction Supervision
  • Once the construction contract
    Contract
    A contract is an agreement entered into by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation, which may have elements in writing. Contracts can be made orally. The remedy for breach of contract can be "damages" or compensation of money. In equity, the remedy can be specific...

     has been signed between the owner
    Ownership
    Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties. The concept of ownership has...

     and the general contractor
    General contractor
    A general contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, management of vendors and trades, and communication of information to involved parties throughout the course of a building project.-Description:...

    , all authorisations have been obtained, and all pre-construction submittals
    Submittals (construction)
    Submittals in Construction Management are shop drawings, material data, samples, and product data. Submittals are required primarily for the architect and engineer to verify that the correct products will be installed on the project....

     have been received from the general contractor, the construction supervisor issues an "Order to begin construction"
  • Regularly schedule meetings and obtain contact information for the general contractor (GC) and all interested parties
  • Obtain a detailed work schedule
    Schedule (project management)
    In project management, a schedule consists of a list of a project's terminal elements with intended start and finish dates. Terminal elements are the lowest element in a schedule, which is not further subdivided...

     and list of subcontractors from the GC
  • Obtain detailed traffic diversion and emergency plans from the GC
  • Obtain proof of certification, insurance and bonds
  • Examine shop drawings submitted by the GC
  • Receive reports from the materials quality control
    Quality control
    Quality control, or QC for short, is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. This approach places an emphasis on three aspects:...

     lab
  • When required, review Change request
    Change request
    A change request is a document containing a call for an adjustment of a system; it is of great importance in the change management process. A change request is not raised for a wording change in a letter....

    s from the GC, and issue construction directives and change orders
  • Follow work progress and authorize partial payments
  • When substantially completed, inspect the work and prepare a list of deficiencies
  • Supervise testing and commissioning
    Ship commissioning
    Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military...

  • Verify that all operating and maintenance manuals, as well as warranties
    Warranty
    In business and legal transactions, a warranty is an assurance by one party to the other party that specific facts or conditions are true or will happen; the other party is permitted to rely on that assurance and seek some type of remedy if it is not true or followed.In real estate transactions, a...

    , are complete
  • Prepare "as built" drawings
  • Make a final inspection, issue a certificate of final completion, and authorize the final payment

Impact on economic development



Investment in infrastructure is part of the capital accumulation
Infrastructural capital
Public capital is the aggregate body of government-owned assets that are used as the means for private productivity. Such assets span a wide range including: large components such as highways, airports, roads, transit systems, and railways; local, municipal components such as public education,...

 required for economic development and may have an impact on socioeconomic measures of welfare. The causality
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

 of infrastructure and economic growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 has always been in debate. In developing nations, expansions in electric grids, roadways, and railways show marked growth in economic development. However, the relationship does not remain in advanced nations who witness more and more lower rates of return on such infrastructure investments.

Nevertheless, infrastructure yields indirect benefits through the supply chain, land values, small business growth, consumer sales, and social benefits of community development and access to opportunity. The American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Civil Engineers
The American Society of Civil Engineers is a professional body founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. It is the oldest national engineering society in the United States. ASCE's vision is to have engineers positioned as global leaders who strive toward...

 cite the many transformative projects that have shaped the growth of the United States including the Transcontinental Railroad
Transcontinental railroad
A transcontinental railroad is a contiguous network of railroad trackage that crosses a continental land mass with terminals at different oceans or continental borders. Such networks can be via the tracks of either a single railroad, or over those owned or controlled by multiple railway companies...

 that connected major cities from the Atlantic to Pacific coast; the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 that revolutionized shipment in connected the two oceans in the Western hemisphere; the Interstate Highway System that spawned the mobility of the masses; and still others that include the Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President...

, Trans-Alaskan pipeline, and many bridges (the Golden Gate
Golden Gate
The Golden Gate is the North American strait connecting San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Since 1937 it has been spanned by the Golden Gate Bridge...

, Brooklyn
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

, and Bay Bridge
Bay Bridge
Bay Bridge may refer to:* Aomori Bay Bridge, Aomori Prefecture, Japan* Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Maryland, United States* Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia, United States* Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, Shandong, China...

). All these efforts are testimony to the infrastructure and economic development correlation.

Use as economic stimulus


During the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 of the 1930s, many governments undertook public works projects in order to create jobs and stimulate the economy. The economist John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

 provided a theoretical justification for this policy in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936. Following the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, some again proposed investing in infrastructure as a means of stimulating the economy (see the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, abbreviated ARRA and commonly referred to as the Stimulus or The Recovery Act, is an economic stimulus package enacted by the 111th United States Congress in February 2009 and signed into law on February 17, 2009, by President Barack Obama.To...

).

Environmental impacts


While infrastructure development may initially be damaging to the natural environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

, justifying the need to assess environmental impacts, it may contribute in mitigating the "perfect storm" of environmental and energy sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

, particularly in the role transportation plays in modern society. Offshore wind power
Offshore wind power
Offshore wind power refers to the construction of wind farms in bodies of water to generate electricity from wind. Better wind speeds are available offshore compared to on land, so offshore wind power’s contribution in terms of electricity supplied is higher....

 in England
Wind power in the United Kingdom
By mid-2011, the installed capacity of wind power in the United Kingdom was over 5.7 gigawatts and the UK is ranked as the world’s eighth largest producer of wind power. Wind power is expected to continue growing in the UK for the foreseeable future, RenewableUK estimates that more than...

 and Denmark
Wind power in Denmark
Wind power provided 18.9% of electricity production and 24.1% of generation capacity in Denmark in 2008, Denmark was a pioneer in developing commercial wind power during the 1970s, and today almost half of the wind turbines around the world are produced by Danish manufacturers such as Vestas and...

 may cause issues to local ecosystems but are incubators to clean energy technology for the surrounding regions. Ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 production may overuse available farmland in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 but have propelled the country to energy independence
Energy security
Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

. High speed rail may cause noise and wide swathes of rights-of-way through countrysides and urban communities but have helped China, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, and other nations deal with concurrent issues of economic competitiveness
Competitiveness
Competitiveness is a comparative concept of the ability and performance of a firm, sub-sector or country to sell and supply goods and/or services in a given market...

, climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, energy use, and built environment
Built environment
The term built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from personal shelter and buildings to neighborhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply or energy networks.The built...

 sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

.

History



The details of the history concerns mainly hard infrastructure.

Before 1700


Infrastructure before 1700 consisted mainly of roads and canals. Canals were used for transportation or for irrigation. Sea navigation was aided by ports and lighthouses. A few advanced cities had aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s that serviced public fountains and baths, while fewer had sewer
Sanitary sewer
A sanitary sewer is a separate underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings to treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers serving industrial areas also carry industrial wastewater...

s.

Roads
The first roads were tracks that often followed game
Game (food)
Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game animals are also hunted for sport.The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world. This will be influenced by climate, animal diversity, local taste and locally accepted view about what can or...

 trail
Trail
A trail is a path with a rough beaten or dirt/stone surface used for travel. Trails may be for use only by walkers and in some places are the main access route to remote settlements...

s, such as the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
The Natchez Trace, also known as the "Old Natchez Trace", is a historical path that extends roughly from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, linking the Cumberland, Tennessee and Mississippi rivers...

.

The first paved streets appear to have been built in Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

 in 4000 BCE. Corduroy road
Corduroy road
A corduroy road or log road is a type of road made by placing sand-covered logs perpendicular to the direction of the road over a low or swampy area....

s were built in Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset, England, situated at a dry point on the low lying Somerset Levels, south of Bristol. The town, which is in the Mendip district, had a population of 8,784 in the 2001 census...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in 3300 BCE and brick-paved roads were built in the Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 on the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 from around the same time. In 500 BCE, Darius I the Great started an extensive road system in Persia (Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

), including the Royal Road
Royal Road
The Persian Royal Road was an ancient highway reorganized and rebuilt by the Persian king Darius the Great of the Achaemenid Empire in the 5th century BC. Darius built the road to facilitate rapid communication throughout his very large empire from Susa to Sardis...

.

With the rise of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, the Romans built roads
Roman road
The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate. The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km...

 using deep roadbeds of crushed stone as an underlying layer to ensure that they kept dry. On the more heavily travelled routes, there were additional layers that included six sided capstones, or pavers, that reduced the dust and reduced the drag
Drag (physics)
In fluid dynamics, drag refers to forces which act on a solid object in the direction of the relative fluid flow velocity...

 from wheel
Wheel
A wheel is a device that allows heavy objects to be moved easily through rotating on an axle through its center, facilitating movement or transportation while supporting a load, or performing labor in machines. Common examples found in transport applications. A wheel, together with an axle,...

s.

In the medieval Islamic world
Islamic Golden Age
During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

, many roads were built throughout the Arab Empire. The most sophisticated roads were those of the Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, which were paved with tar
Tar
Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest...

 in the 8th century.

Canals and irrigation systems
The oldest known canals were built in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 circa 4000 BCE, in what is now modern day Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. The Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 in India and Pakistan
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 from c3300 BCE had a sophisticated canal irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 system. In Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, canals date back to at least 2300 BCE, when a canal was built to bypass the cataract
Cataracts of the Nile
The cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths of the Nile between Aswan and Khartoum where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones protruding out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. Aswan is also the Southern boundary of Upper Egypt...

 on the Nile near Aswan
Aswan
Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

.

In ancient China, large canals for river transport were established as far back as the Warring States (481-221 BCE). By far the longest canal was the Grand Canal of China
Grand Canal of China
The Grand Canal in China, also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the longest canal or artificial river in the world. Starting at Beijing, it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou...

 completed in 609 CE, still the longest canal in the world today at 1794 kilometres (1,114.7 mi).

In Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, canal building began in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 because of commercial expansion from the 12th century CE. Notable canals were the Stecknitz Canal in Germany in 1398, the Briare Canal
Briare Canal
The Canal de Briare is one of the oldest canals in France. It is the first summit level canal in Europe that was built using pound locks, connecting the Loire and Seine valleys. It is 57km long and is part of the Bourbonnais route from Saint-Mammès on the Seine to Chalon-sur-Saône on the Saône River...

 connecting the Loire
Loire
Loire is an administrative department in the east-central part of France occupying the River Loire's upper reaches.-History:Loire was created in 1793 when after just 3½ years the young Rhône-et-Loire department was split into two. This was a response to counter-Revolutionary activities in Lyon...

 and Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

 in Francein 1642, followed by the Canal du Midi
Canal du Midi
The is a long canal in Southern France . The canal connects the Garonne River to the on the Mediterranean and along with the Canal de Garonne forms the Canal des Deux Mers joining the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The canal runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Étang de Thau...

 in 1683 connecting the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Canal building progressed steadily in Germany in the 17th and 18th centuries with three great rivers, the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

, Oder
Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...

, and Weser being linked by canals.

1700 to 1870


Roads
As traffic levels increased in England and roads deteriorated, toll road
Toll road
A toll road is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds...

s were built by Turnpike Trusts, especially between 1730–1770. Turnpikes were also later built in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. They were usually built by private companies under a government franchise
Franchising
Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. The word 'franchise' is of anglo-French derivation - from franc- meaning free, and is used both as a noun and as a verb....

.

Water transport on rivers and canals carried many farm goods from the US frontier between the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 and Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 in the early 19th century, but the shorter road route over the mountains had advantages.

In France, Pierre-Marie-Jérôme Trésaguet
Pierre-Marie-Jérôme Trésaguet
Pierre-Marie-Jérôme Trésaguet was a French engineer. He is widely credited with establishing the first scientific approach to road building about the year 1764. Among his innovations was the use of a base layer of large stone covered with a thin layer of smaller stone...

 is widely credited with establishing the first scientific approach
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 to road building about the year 1764. It involved a layer of large rocks, covered by a layer of smaller gravel. John Loudon McAdam
John Loudon McAdam
John Loudon McAdam was a Scottish engineer and road-builder. He invented a new process, "macadamisation", for building roads with a smooth hard surface that would be more durable and less muddy than soil-based tracks....

 (1756–1836) designed the first modern highways, and developed an inexpensive paving material of soil and stone aggregate known as macadam
Macadam
Macadam is a type of road construction pioneered by the Scotsman John Loudon McAdam in around 1820. The method simplified what had been considered state-of-the-art at that point...

.

Canals
In Europe, particularly Britain and Ireland, and then in the early US and the Canadian colonies, inland canals preceded the development of railroads during the earliest phase of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

. In Britain between 1760 and 1820 over one hundred canals were built.

In the United States, navigable canals reached into isolated areas and brought them in touch with the world beyond. By 1825 the Erie Canal
Erie Canal
The Erie Canal is a waterway in New York that runs about from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York, at Lake Erie, completing a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The canal contains 36 locks and encompasses a total elevation differential of...

, 363 miles (584.2 km) long with 82 locks, opened up a connection from the populated northeast to the fertile Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

. During the 19th century, the length of canals grew from 100 miles (160.9 km) to over 4000 miles (6,437.4 km), with a complex network in conjunction with Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 making the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 navigable, although some canals were later drained and used as railroad rights-of-way
Right-of-way (railroad)
A right-of-way is a strip of land that is granted, through an easement or other mechanism, for transportation purposes, such as for a trail, driveway, rail line or highway. A right-of-way is reserved for the purposes of maintenance or expansion of existing services with the right-of-way...

.

Railways
The earliest railways were used in mines or to bypass waterfalls, and were pulled by horses or by people. In 1811 John Blenkinsop
John Blenkinsop
John Blenkinsop was an English mining engineer and an inventor of steam locomotives, who designed the first practical railway locomotive....

 designed the first successful and practical railway locomotive, and a line was built connecting the Middleton Colliery to Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the world's first inter-city passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and were hauled for most of the distance solely by steam locomotives. The line opened on 15 September 1830 and ran between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester in North...

, considered to be the world's first intercity line, opened in 1826. In the following years, railways spread throughout the United Kingdom and the world, and became the dominant means of land transport for nearly a century.

In the US, the 1826 Granite Railway
Granite Railway
-References:** privately printed for The Granite Railway Company, 1926.* Scholes, Robert E. , .******Dutton, E.P. Published 1867. A good map of roads and rail lines around Quincy and Milton including the Granite Railroad.* * *...

 in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 was the first commercial railroad to evolve through continuous operations into a common carrier
Common carrier
A common carrier in common-law countries is a person or company that transports goods or people for any person or company and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport...

. The Baltimore and Ohio, opened in 1830, was the first to evolve into a major system. In 1869, the symbolically important transcontinental railroad
First Transcontinental Railroad
The First Transcontinental Railroad was a railroad line built in the United States of America between 1863 and 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad that connected its statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska The First...

 was completed in the US with the driving of a golden spike at Promontory, Utah
Promontory, Utah
Promontory in Box Elder County, Utah, United States, is notable as the location of Promontory Summit where the United States' Transcontinental Railroad was officially completed on May 10, 1869....

.

Telegraph service
The electrical telegraph was first successfully demonstrated on 25 July 1837 between Euston
Euston railway station
Euston railway station, also known as London Euston, is a central London railway terminus in the London Borough of Camden. It is the sixth busiest rail terminal in London . It is one of 18 railway stations managed by Network Rail, and is the southern terminus of the West Coast Main Line...

 and Camden Town
Camden Town
-Economy:In recent years, entertainment-related businesses and a Holiday Inn have moved into the area. A number of retail and food chain outlets have replaced independent shops driven out by high rents and redevelopment. Restaurants have thrived, with the variety of culinary traditions found in...

 in London. It entered commercial
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

 use on the Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament in 1835 and ran its first trains in 1838...

 over the 13 miles (20.9 km) from Paddington station
Paddington station
Paddington railway station, also known as London Paddington, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex.The site is a historic one, having served as the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the current mainline station dates...

 to West Drayton
West Drayton
West Drayton is a suburban area in the London Borough of Hillingdon in the far west of London, England. Formerly part of the Yiewsley and West Drayton Urban District of Middlesex, the district became part of Greater London in 1965....

 on 9 April 1839.

In the United States, the telegraph was developed by Samuel Morse
Samuel F. B. Morse
Samuel Finley Breese Morse was an American contributor to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs, co-inventor of the Morse code, and an accomplished painter.-Birth and education:...

 and Alfred Vail. On 24 May 1844, Morse made the first public demonstration of his telegraph by sending a message from the Supreme Court Chamber in the US Capitol in Washington, DC to the B&O Railroad outer depot (now the B&O Railroad Museum) in Baltimore. The Morse/Vail telegraph was quickly deployed in the following two decades. On 24 October 1861, the first transcontinental telegraph
First Transcontinental Telegraph
The First Transcontinental Telegraph was a milestone in electrical engineering and in the formation of the United States of America. It served as the only method of near-instantaneous communication between the east and west coasts during the 1860s....

 system was established.

The first successful transatlantic telegraph cable
Transatlantic telegraph cable
The transatlantic telegraph cable was the first cable used for telegraph communications laid across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. It crossed from , Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island, in western Ireland to Heart's Content in eastern Newfoundland. The transatlantic cable connected North America...

 was completed on 27 July 1866, allowing transatlantic telegraph communications for the first time. Within 29 years of its first installation at Euston Station, the telegraph network crossed the oceans to every continent but Antarctica, making instant global communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

 possible for the first time.

1870 to 1920


Roads
Tar-bound macadam, or tarmac
Tarmac
Tarmac is a type of road surface. Tarmac refers to a material patented by Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1901...

, was applied to macadam roads towards the end of the 19th century in cities such as Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. In the early 20th century tarmac and concrete paving were extended into the countryside.

Canals
Many notable sea canals were completed in this period, such as the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 in 1869, the Kiel Canal
Kiel Canal
The Kiel Canal , known as the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal until 1948, is a long canal in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.The canal links the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. An average of is saved by using the Kiel Canal instead of going around the Jutland Peninsula....

 in 1897, and the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 in 1914.

Telephone service
In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone....

 achieved the first successful telephone transmission of clear speech. The first telephones had no network, but were in private use, wired together in pairs. Users who wanted to talk to different people had as many telephones as necessary for the purpose. A user who wished to speak, whistled into the transmitter until the other party heard. Soon, however, a bell was added for signalling, and then a switch-hook, and telephones took advantage of the exchange
Exchange
-Finance and Commerce:* Exchange of goods and services, or trade* Exchange between a buyer and seller, a financial transaction* Exchange , where securities are sold and bought-Communications and Technology:...

 principle already employed in telegraph networks. Each telephone was wired to a local telephone exchange
Telephone exchange
In the field of telecommunications, a telephone exchange or telephone switch is a system of electronic components that connects telephone calls...

, and the exchanges were wired together with trunks
Trunking
In modern communications, trunking is a concept by which a communications system can provide network access to many clients by sharing a set of lines or frequencies instead of providing them individually. This is analogous to the structure of a tree with one trunk and many branches. Examples of...

. Networks were connected together in a hierarchical manner until they spanned cities, countries, continents, and oceans.

Electricity
At the Paris Exposition of 1878
Exposition Universelle (1878)
The third Paris World's Fair, called an Exposition Universelle in French, was held from 1 May through to 10 November 1878. It celebrated the recovery of France after the 1870 Franco-Prussian War.-Construction:...

, electric arc lighting
Arc lamp
"Arc lamp" or "arc light" is the general term for a class of lamps that produce light by an electric arc . The lamp consists of two electrodes, first made from carbon but typically made today of tungsten, which are separated by a gas...

 had been installed along the Avenue de l'Opera and the Place de l'Opera, using electric Yablochkov arc lamps
Yablochkov candle
A Yablochkov candle is a type of electric carbon arc lamp, invented in 1876 by Pavel Yablochkov.-Design:A Yablochkov candle consists of a sandwich of two long carbon blocks, approximately 6 by 12 millimetres in cross-section, separated by a block of inert material such as plaster of paris or kaolin...

, powered by Zénobe Gramme
Zénobe Gramme
Zénobe Théophile Gramme was a Belgian electrical engineer. He invented the Gramme machine, a type of direct current dynamo capable of generating smoother and much higher voltages than the dynamos known to that point.In 1873 he and Hippolyte Fontaine accidentally discovered that the device was...

 alternating current dynamos.

Yablochkov candles required high voltage
High voltage
The term high voltage characterizes electrical circuits in which the voltage used is the cause of particular safety concerns and insulation requirements...

s, and it was not long before experimenters reported that the arc lights could be powered on a seven mile (11 km) circuit. Within a decade scores of cities would have lighting systems using a central power plant that provided electricity to multiple customers via electrical transmission lines. These systems were in direct competition with the dominant gaslight
Gas lighting
Gas lighting is production of artificial light from combustion of a gaseous fuel, including hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, propane, butane, acetylene, ethylene, or natural gas. Before electricity became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most...

 utilities of the period.

The first electricity system supplying incandescent lights was built by the Edison Illuminating Company
Edison Illuminating Company
The Edison Illuminating Company was established by Thomas Edison on December 17, 1880, to construct electrical generating stations, initially in New York City...

 in lower Manhattan, eventually serving one square mile with six "jumbo dynamos" housed at Pearl Street Station
Pearl Street Station
Pearl Street Station was the first central power plant in the United States. It was located at 255-257 Pearl Street in Manhattan on a site measuring 50 by 100 feet, just south of Fulton Street. It began with one direct current generator, and it started generating electricity on September 4, 1882,...

.

The first transmission of three-phase
Three-phase
In electrical engineering, three-phase electric power systems have at least three conductors carrying voltage waveforms that are radians offset in time...

 alternating current
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

 using high voltage took place in 1891 during the International Electro-Technical Exhibition
International Electro-Technical Exhibition - 1891
The 1891 International Electro-Technical Exhibition was held between 16 May and 19 October on the disused site of the three former “Westbahnhöfe” in Frankfurt am Main. The exhibition featured the first long distance transmission of high-power, three-phase electrical current, which was generated...

 in Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

. A 25 kilovolt transmission line, approximately 175 km (108.7 mi) long, connected Lauffen on the Neckar
Neckar
The Neckar is a long river, mainly flowing through the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, but also a short section through Hesse, in Germany. The Neckar is a major right tributary of the River Rhine...

 with Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

. Voltages used for electric power transmission increased throughout the 20th century. By 1914 fifty-five transmission systems operating at more than 70,000 V were in service, the highest voltage then being used was 150,000  V.

Water distribution and sewers
In the 19th century major treatment works were built in London
London water supply infrastructure
London's water supply infrastructure has developed over the centuries in line with the expansion of London and now represents a sizeable infrastructure investment. For much of London's history, private companies supplied fresh water to various parts of London from the River Thames and the River Lea...

 in response to cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 threats. The Metropolis Water Act (1852) was enacted. "Under the Act, it became unlawful for any water company to extract water for domestic use from the tidal reaches of the Thames after 31 August 1855, and from 31 December 1855 all such water was required to be effectively filtered. The Metropolitan Commission of Sewers was formed, water filtration was made compulsory, and new water intakes on the Thames were established above Teddington Lock.

The technique of purification of drinking water by use of compressed liquefied chlorine gas was developed in 1910 by US Army Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 Carl Rogers Darnall
Carl Rogers Darnall
Brigadier General Carl Rogers Darnall was a United States Army chemist and surgeon credited with originating the technique of liquid chlorination of drinking water...

, Professor of Chemistry at the Army Medical School
Army Medical School
Founded by U.S. Army Brigadier General George Miller Sternberg, MD in 1893, the Army Medical School was by some reckonings the world's first school of public health and preventive medicine...

. Darnall's work became the basis for present day systems of municipal water purification
Water purification
Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, materials, and biological contaminants from contaminated water. The goal is to produce water fit for a specific purpose...

.

Subways
In 1863 the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 was created. In 1890, it first started using electric traction and deep-level tunnels. Soon afterwards, Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

 and many other cities started using subway systems. By 1940, nineteen subway systems were in use.

Since 1920



Roads
In 1925, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 was the first country to build a freeway-like road, which linked Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 to Lake Como
Lake Como
Lake Como is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 km², making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore...

, known as the Autostrada dei Laghi. In Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the autobahns formed the first limited-access, high-speed road network in the world, with the first section from Frankfurt am Main to Darmstadt
Darmstadt
Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area.The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat...

 opening in 1935. The first long-distance rural freeway in the United States is generally considered to be the Pennsylvania Turnpike
Pennsylvania Turnpike
The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a toll highway system operated by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States. The three sections of the turnpike system total . The main section extends from Ohio to New Jersey and is long...

, which opened on October 1, 1940. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the Interstate Highway System was authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Most of the system was completed between 1960 and 1990.

Infrastructure in the developing world


According to researchers at the Overseas Development Institute
Overseas Development Institute
The Overseas Development Institute is one of the leading independent think tanks on international development and humanitarian issues. Based in London, its mission is "to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement...

, the lack of infrastructure in many developing countries represents one of the most significant limitations to economic growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

. Infrastructure investments and maintenance can be very expensive, especially in such as areas as landlocked, rural and sparsely populated countries in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. It has been argued that infrastructure investments contributed to more than half of Africa's improved growth performance between 1990 and 2005, and increased investment is necessary to maintain growth and tackle poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

. The returns to investment in infrastructure are very significant, with on average thirty to forty percent returns for telecommunications (ICT) investments, over forty percent for electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 generation, and eighty percent for roads.

Regional Differences


The demand for infrastructure, both by consumers and by companies is much higher than the amount invested. There are severe constraints on the supply side of the provision of infrastructure in Asia. The infrastructure financing gap between what is invested in Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific or Asia Pacific is the part of the world in or near the Western Pacific Ocean...

 (around US$48 billion) and what is needed (US$228 billion) is around US$180 billion every year.

In Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, three percent of GDP (around US$71 billion) would need to be invested in infrastructure in order to satisfy demand, yet in 2005, for example, only around two percent was invested leaving a financing gap of approximately US$24 billion.

In Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, in order to reach the seven percent annual growth calculated to be required to meet the MDGs by 2015 would require infrastructure investments of about fifteen percent of GDP, or around US$93 billion a year. In fragile states
Fragile state
A fragile state is a low income country characterized by weak state capacity and/or weak state legitimacy leaving citizens vulnerable to a whole range of shocks....

, over thirty-seven percent of GDP would be required.

Sources of funding


Currently, the source of financing varies significantly across sectors. Some sectors are dominated by government spending, others by overseas development aid (ODA)
Development aid
Development aid or development cooperation is aid given by governments and other agencies to support the economic, environmental, social and political development of developing countries.It is distinguished...

, and yet others by private investors.

In sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

, the government spends around US$9.4 billion out of a total of US$24.9 billion. In irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

, governments represent almost all spending. In transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

 and energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 a majority of investment is government spending. In ICT
Information and communication technologies
Information and communications technology or information and communication technology, usually abbreviated as ICT, is often used as an extended synonym for information technology , but is usually a more general term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of...

 and water supply
Water supply
Water supply is the provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavours or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes...

 and sanitation
Sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

, the private sector represents the majority of capital expenditure. Overall, between them aid, the private sector, and non-OECD financiers exceed government spending. The private sector spending alone equals state capital expenditure, though the majority is focused on ICT infrastructure investments. External financing increased in the 2000s and in Africa alone external infrastructure investments increased from US$7 billion in 2002 to US$27 billion in 2009. China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, in particular, has emerged as an important investor.

See also


  • Airport infrastructure
  • Asset Management Plan
    Asset Management Plan
    An Asset Management Plan is a tactical plan for managing an organisation's infrastructure and other assets to deliver an agreed standard of service...

  • Critical infrastructure
    Critical infrastructure
    Critical infrastructure is a term used by governments to describe assets that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Most commonly associated with the term are facilities for:*electricity generation, transmission and distribution;...

  • Green infrastructure
    Green infrastructure
    Green Infrastructure is a concept originating in the United States in the mid-1990s that highlights the importance of the natural environment in decisions about land use planning. In particular there is an emphasis on the "life support" functions provided by a network of natural ecosystems, with an...

  • Infrastructure Asset Management
    Infrastructure asset management
    Infrastructure asset management is the integrated, multi-disciplinary set of strategies in sustaining public infrastructure assets such as water treatment facilities, sewer lines, roads, utility grids, bridges, and railways. Generally, the process focuses on the later stages of a facility’s life...

  • Infrastructure security
    Infrastructure Security
    Infrastructure security is the security provided to protect infrastructure, especially critical infrastructure, such as airports, highways rail transport, hospitals, bridges, transport hubs, network communications, media, the electricity grid, dams, power plants, seaports, oil refineries, and...

  • Infrastructural capital
    Infrastructural capital
    Public capital is the aggregate body of government-owned assets that are used as the means for private productivity. Such assets span a wide range including: large components such as highways, airports, roads, transit systems, and railways; local, municipal components such as public education,...

  • Land improvement
    Land improvement
    Land improvement or land amelioration refers to investments making land more usable by humans. In terms of accounting, land improvements refer to any variety of projects that increase the value of the property...

  • Megaproject
    Megaproject
    A megaproject is an extremely large-scale investment project. Megaprojects are typically defined as costing more than US$1 billion and attracting a lot of public attention because of substantial impacts on communities, environment, and budgets. Megaprojects can also be defined as "initiatives that...

  • Public services
    Public services
    Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

  • Public works
    Public works
    Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

  • Pseudo-urbanization
    Pseudo-urbanization
    Pseudo-urbanization is the condition in which a large city has formed in an area without a functional infrastructure to support it. As the population of an urbanized area grows, the city's infrastructure must grow with it, or else shortages will develop, typically in housing, education,...

  • Logistics
    Logistics
    Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...



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