Roads & Bridges

    Guns, Drones, and Scissors: Lessons From the North Carolina Power Station Incident

    Cyber attacks often take center stage in public and private discussions of critical infrastructure security in the U.S. The Dec. 3 incident that left some 45,000 Duke Energy customers without power in North Carolina — as well as the ongoing Russian assaults on Ukrainian infrastructure — provide an important reminder that physical attacks remain a major threat as well. On the PBS news program Amanpour and Company, Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and author… Read More »Guns, Drones, and Scissors: Lessons From the North Carolina Power Station Incident

      Railroads and Recessions

      Is the economy bound for a recession? That’s arguably the biggest question in business right now. Experts are divided, with Goldman Sachs and Moody’s sounding cautiously optimistic, and billionaires Elon Musk and Leon Cooperman fearing the worst. The White House, for its part, is focused intently averting a rail strike, fearing it could tip the scales. A forced agreement is making its way through Congress. On Nov. 28, President Joe Biden releasing a statement in support of legislative action. Let… Read More »Railroads and Recessions

        Elon Musk’s Empty Promises for Transportation

        Think Elon Musk holds the key to transportation’s future? Think again, suggest recent articles in Intelligencer and Time. Critic Alissa Walker, writing for Intelligencer, drills into the business practices of Musk’s The Boring Company. His pitch, in essence, is to convince beleaguered city officials that a tunnel network for cars will solve congestion woes. What they get, Walker suggests, is a host of unrealistic and ultimately broken promises. Michael Manville, associate professor of urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School… Read More »Elon Musk’s Empty Promises for Transportation

          With Smart Cities, Technology Shouldn’t Be the Goal

          The urban IT movement known as “Smart Cities” offers a seemingly infinite toolset for making cities and their infrastructure more efficient. But tech isn’t the point, cautions Riad Meddeb and Calum Handforth of the United Nations Development Programme, in the pages of the MIT Technology Review. Truly smart cities recognize the ambiguity of lives and livelihoods, and they are driven by outcomes beyond the implementation of “solutions.” They are defined by their residents’ talents, relationships, and sense of ownership—not by… Read More »With Smart Cities, Technology Shouldn’t Be the Goal

            On the Future of Transportation

            The Washington Post hosts a conversation with Michael Berube, deputy assistant secretary for sustainable transportation at the Department of Energy, and Wes Edens, founder and co-CEO of Fortress Investment Group, about the transition to more affordable, environmentally friendly modes of transportation. Watch the video here, and read a few highlights below: BERUBE: Well, last year’s infrastructure bill truly was game changing in so many ways. On the electrification front, probably the biggest single item is $7.5 billion towards the EV… Read More »On the Future of Transportation

              Boom Time for Rail?

              Fans of fast trains can take heart: The current Dodge Construction Central list of top infrastructure projects in planning shows a big emphasis on rail. Six of the top 10 projects fall into the category, thanks to forthcoming high-speed lines on the West coasts and freight improvements in and around New York City. As for projects underway, highway projects dominate, with water projects coming in second. Topping the list of projects underway is a $296 million tollway serving the border… Read More »Boom Time for Rail?

                Wild Infrastructure: Construction Begins on the World’s Largest Animal Crossing

                Since 1970, the world population of wild animals has declined some 68%, the Living Planet Index finds, due to climate change, human encroachment on habitat, and other factors. Soon, some lucky critters in Southern California will have access to much more viable territory, The Week reports. A major infrastructure project, the Wallis Annenberg wildlife crossing, will relink the Santa Monica Mountains, the Simi Hills, and the Santa Susana Mountains, long severed by the busy 101 freeway. The effort is being… Read More »Wild Infrastructure: Construction Begins on the World’s Largest Animal Crossing

                  Federal Agency Adopts Lower-Carbon Asphalt and Concrete Standards

                  The U.S. General Services Administration is one of the nation’s biggest landlords. As part of its sweeping mandate, the agency maintains thousands of government properties and constructs federal court houses, office buildings, border stations, and other structures nationwide. So when GSA adopts new construction standards — usually after exhaustive study and participation by the private sector — the building industry as a whole takes notice. In March, GSA announced new standards for asphalt and concrete used in construction. Why target… Read More »Federal Agency Adopts Lower-Carbon Asphalt and Concrete Standards

                    COVID, Supply Chain Disruption, and the Price of Steel

                    Is uncertainty making it hard to plan for the future? Tabitha S. Stine, the director of construction solutions services at the steel and steel products company Nucor, has a strong sense of what the construction industry can expect. In her presentation for Outlook 2022, she draws connections between COVID-19, supply chain disruptions, the price of steel, and near- and mid-term prospects for the construction industry and the economy writ large. In the long-term, material prices continue to rise: From Jan.… Read More »COVID, Supply Chain Disruption, and the Price of Steel

                      Dodge 2022 Construction Outlook: Four Key Takeaways

                      In his webinar forecast for the U.S. construction market in the coming year, Dodge chief economist Richard Branch notes four primary trends. First, the current material shortages and high prices, driven in large part by supply chain blockages, will remain issues. Second, labor shortages will continue to bedevil contractors. Third, productivity gains will drive profitability. And fourth, changing demographics, market shifts, and other externalities will necessitate flexibility.