Digital technologies can enhance climate resilience of critical infrastructure
Delivering infrastructure, resilient to multiple natural hazards and climate change, is fundamental to continued economic prosperity and social coherence. This is a strategic priority of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), public policies and global initiatives. The operability and functionality of critical infrastructure are continuously challenged by multiple stressors, increasing demands and ageing, whilst their interconnectedness and dependencies pose additional challenges. Emerging and disruptive digital technologies have the potential to enhance climate resilience of critical infrastructure, by providing rapid and accurate assessment of asset condition and support decision-making and adaptation. In this pursuit, it is imperative to adopt multidisciplinary roadmaps and deploy computational, communication and other digital technologies, tools and monitoring systems. Nevertheless, the potential of these emerging technologies remains largely unexploited, as there is a lack of consensus, integrated approaches and legislation in support of their use. In this perspective paper, we discuss the main challenges and enablers of climate-resilient infrastructure and we identify how available roadmaps, tools and emerging digital technologies, e.g. Internet of Things, digital twins, point clouds, Artificial Intelligence, Building Information Modelling, can be placed at the service of a safer world. We show how digital technologies will lead to infrastructure of enhanced resilience, by delivering efficient and reliable decision-making, in a proactive and/or reactive manner, prior, during and after hazard occurrences. In this respect, we discuss how emerging technologies significantly reduce the uncertainties in all phases of infrastructure resilience evaluations. Thus, building climate-resilient infrastructure, aided by digital technologies, will underpin critical activities globally, contribute to Net Zero target and hence safeguard our societies and economies. To achieve this we set an agenda, which is aligned with the relevant SDGs and highlights the urgent need to deliver holistic and inclusive standards and legislation, supported by coordinated alliances, to fully utilise emerging digital technologies.
Online Publication Date
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/S02302X/1)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (860555)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (101034337)
Highways England Company (Unknown)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P013848/1)