The concerns with our aging infrastructure are well-documented. The highways, bridges, and airports that paved the way for our world-leading economy today are crumbling and, even worse, undermining growth. Rather than boosting business, our infrastructure costs the nation roughly $1 trillion a year in lost economic growth. Our highways suffer from constant congestion, our bridges have become structurally unsound, and outdated technology only increases our travel delays.
But technology can change that. Software.org: the BSA Foundation released “Infrastructure 4.0: Rebuilding America with Software,” a report that details how we can help close America’s infrastructure opportunity gap.
Today, we have an opportunity upgrade our nation’s infrastructure to a 21st century system. Our current system was built in an analog era, long before the invention of the Internet and cloud computing – so it’s no wonder that it’s in desperate need of some upgrades.
Software can not only help update our physical infrastructure, but also our approach to planning, design, and construction. We can now integrate sensors into bridges to monitor safety, use 3D design software to build more cost-effective roads, and operate GPS-guided precision construction equipment. We can use software to prevent train collisions, improve our water quality, and reduce our energy bills. So, what are we waiting for?
The report gives Congress three recommendations for rebuilding US infrastructure. We need to take advantage of software innovation to improve the resiliency and sustainability of our roads, bridges, transit systems, electric grid, and air traffic control system. We need to invest in broadband networks and cloud computing to better connect hardworking Americans and create jobs. And we need to improve the nation’s software skills, from kids to adults, to better arm the workforce of today and the workforce of the future.
Our infrastructure challenges are enormous, but we can start solving them with software. We shouldn’t be satisfied with yesterday’s travel and transit networks when we can upgrade them for tomorrow.