AIC Research Group, University of Southampton

AIC Research Group

Intelligent infrastructure

We increasingly rely on an interdependent network of complementary, interacting, infrastructure systems: transport, energy, water, waste, ICT, and even governmental, health care and emergency services. In the UK, and in advanced economies globally, these systems face serious challenges. There is an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions from infrastructure systems, to respond to future demographic, social and lifestyle changes and to improve resilience.

Acheiving this will require interdsiciplinary collaboration and a complex systems perspective. Recent reports from, e.g., the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Council for Science and Technology, and the Cabinet Office agree that achieving and sustaining resilience is a key challenge facing the UK’s infrastructure systems. Examples of stresses and shocks range from climate change and demograhpic change, to systemic failure and terrorist attack. The complex, disparate and interconnected nature of the UK’s infrastructure is a key concern. Our infrastructure systems are highly fragmented both in terms of their governance and in terms of the number of agencies charged with achieving and maintaining resilience, which range from national government to local services and even community groups and local resilience forums. Moreover, the cross-sector interactions amongst different technological and techno-social systems within national infrastructure systems are not well understood. AIC research in modelling and managing infrastrcture is working towards a better understanding of the resilience implications of our current and future infrastructural organisation; and vehicles for effectively conveying this understanding to the full range of relevant stakeholders.