Resilience is a key part of sustainable and quality infrastructure. It requires addressing short-term infrastructure challenges through both the maintenance and building of sustainable infrastructure for the future. Effective management is critical for ensuring that infrastructure can withstand external shocks.
Assessment on life cycle perspective used by OECD countries to help identify proposals offering the best value for money, 2020
Why is this important?
Infrastructure is long-lived and the adverse effects of aging infrastructure can threaten its value for money and capacity to deliver the services that it is intended to provide. To ensure quality of services, infrastructure needs to be resilient. Resilience is essential to absorb the impacts of adverse shocks. Tackling the complex challenges and opportunities related to infrastructure resilience and maintenance requires a multidimensional approach. It must consider factors at the local, regional, national and global levels. This approach seeks to get the best out of an infrastructure asset over its life cycle, across functions and the entire infrastructure system/network, leveraging new technologies and nature-based solutions.
Costs generally estimated to assess affordability of new infrastructure projects in OECD countries, 2020
How to strengthen infrastructure resilience and maintenance?
Adopting an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework for infrastructure resilience and maintenance
Countries can strengthen their institutional framework to ensure infrastructure performance and resilience over the asset life cycle by:
- Adopting an integrated set of responsibilities and functions designed to identify, report and take action on infrastructure risks and challenges;
- Promoting coherent, efficient and predictable regulatory frameworks to incentivise investment in public infrastructure and ensure the delivery of ongoing improvements in infrastructure performance;
- Ensuring co-ordination of infrastructure resilience and maintenance across sectors and levels of government;
- Promoting good governance of economic regulators to ensure optimisation of life cycle costs and asset quality, and support market efficiency;
- Strengthening enforcement of resilience standards and regulations.
Scaling up innovations in infrastructure maintenance and asset management
Countries can maximise asset utilisation and enhance its quality by:
- Ensuring appropriate monitoring during the operational phase including regular observation and recording of the performance data of an asset;
- Adopting demand management techniques and smart infrastructure to improve resilience, reducing failures and disruptions in service provision;
- Scaling up automation and use of sensors and user feedback tools to reduce maintenance costs and extend the life of the asset;
- Using infrastructure data to feed data-based solutions, such as digital twins and predictive maintenance, to better model maintenance needs and risks and to provide a more holistic approach through the infrastructure life cycle;
- Promoting Nature-based solutions to strengthen infrastructure resilience.
Building capabilities for resilience and maintenance in planning and strategy
Countries can improve planning for infrastructure resilience and maintenance by:
- Developing a long-term strategic vision for sustainable and resilient infrastructure to identify and address infrastructure service needs in a timely and coherent manner;
- Integrating resilience and maintenance criteria into project design, budgeting, selection and prioritisation, including downstream costs to ensure that projects are consistent with national plans and future climate change scenarios;
- Integrating a life-cycle perspective into public procurement of infrastructure;
- Adopting adaptive infrastructure planning approaches and anticipatory innovation governance methods to ensure that infrastructure systems can cope with highly uncertain future operating conditions;
- Engaging citizens and stakeholders for better planning, design and management of infrastructure.
Ensuring funding and mobilising investment to maximise services to the Community
Countries can ensure stable funding and mobilise investment for infrastructure resilience by:
- Employing maintenance funding and incentives to ensure sufficient and stable funding for optimal operations and management of infrastructure assets;
- Adopting appropriate budgetary treatment of infrastructure maintenance spending;
- Using appropriate delivery models to take into account the related incentives for the private sector to provide maintenance and operations services;
- Promoting disclosure of information on ESG risks to attract institutional investors' investment in resilient infrastructure;
- Leveraging capital markets and private sector resources to increase private sector investment in resilient infrastructure.