Building a Sustainable Future: Enhancing Transportation Infrastructure

9:14 am
August 9, 2023

Transportation infrastructure plays a crucial role in the functioning of modern economies, providing networks that facilitate the safe movement of people and goods. However, the traditional methods and technologies used to build and maintain these systems often contribute to environmental pollution and the depletion of natural resources. In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, countries around the world are investing in sustainable transportation infrastructure initiatives.

In the United States, a bipartisan infrastructure law has allocated $1 trillion to fund the construction and rebuilding of critical transportation networks. In Europe, the European Union has selected 107 transport infrastructure projects to receive over six billion euros in grants for improving connectivity and public transportation. The Asian Development Bank has called for $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure development in the Asia Pacific region to meet its goals.

However, simply repairing and rebuilding existing infrastructure using outdated methods and technologies is not enough. To truly transform transportation systems and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, sustainable approaches must be adopted. Building sustainable transportation infrastructure not only benefits the environment but also offers numerous advantages for businesses.

The Importance of Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure

The transportation sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and global energy consumption. According to the International Energy Agency, transportation accounts for 21% of global CO2 emissions. The International Institute for Sustainable Development attributes 64% of global oil consumption and 27% of energy use to transport services.

Investing in sustainable transportation infrastructure is essential for combating climate change and fulfilling the goals set in the Paris Climate Accords. Moreover, sustainable infrastructure offers several business benefits:

Better compliance with environmental health and safety (EHS) regulations

Tighter EHS regulations require organizations to monitor and reduce their emissions. By integrating EHS monitoring into asset maintenance programs, businesses can ensure compliance and mitigate environmental risks.

Lower fuel costs

Sustainable transportation infrastructure relies on efficient asset performance monitoring, which helps optimize fuel consumption. By constantly measuring fuel use and ensuring assets operate at optimal levels, organizations can reduce their environmental impact and save on fuel costs.

More reliable and efficient maintenance procedures

Transitioning from reactive maintenance to preventive or predictive maintenance programs enhances asset management and sustainability. Organizations can monitor, manage, and maintain their assets effectively, minimizing downtime and costly equipment failures.

Increased asset availability, better performance, and longer lifespans

Sustainable transportation infrastructure employs preventive and predictive maintenance to proactively identify and address maintenance issues. This approach improves overall asset management, reduces downtime, and extends the lifespan of assets.

Best Practices for Building Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure

To create stronger and more resilient transportation infrastructure, organizations can adopt best practices and leverage new technologies:

Prioritize sustainability goals

Organizations should identify sustainable transportation initiatives that align with their resources and goals. Starting with manageable steps, such as converting a percentage of a fleet to electric vehicles, allows for practical implementation and issue resolution before scaling up.

Utilize modern asset management solutions

Employing enterprise asset management (EAM) and asset performance monitoring (APM) solutions helps optimize work management processes, maintenance programs, and supply chain management. These tools contribute to sustainable transportation infrastructure by improving asset productivity and environmental performance.

Upgrade maintenance programs

Transitioning from reactive or run-to-failure maintenance to preventive or predictive maintenance enhances sustainability. Proactively identifying and resolving maintenance issues reduces costly breakdowns, prolongs asset lifespans, and minimizes environmental impact.

Enhance asset monitoring with IoT and AI

Integrating Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into EAM and APM strategies allows for advanced asset monitoring. Real-time data analysis helps ensure optimal asset performance and minimal environmental impact.

Leverage digital twin technologies

Digital twins enable stakeholders to simulate and test assets under different conditions, helping with planning and decision-making. Engineers working on transportation infrastructure projects use digital twins to evaluate asset performance and resiliency in various environments.

Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure Use Cases

Sustainable transportation infrastructure benefits various industries and needs. Two examples include:


Airports are critical hubs for transportation. By adopting modern technology and workflows, such as AI and IoT tools, airports can improve asset maintenance processes, ensure compliance, and enhance communication between maintenance teams.

Freight Transport

The transportation and storage of freight contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Optimizing fuel efficiency and adopting preventive and predictive maintenance programs can help reduce the carbon footprint of freight vehicles. EAM and APM strategies assist in lengthening asset lifecycles and complying with environmental regulations.

Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure Solutions

Organizations can select from a range of solutions to improve their transportation infrastructure asset management practices. IBM Maximo Application Suite, for example, offers an integrated asset and reliability management solution tailored for transportation infrastructure management. This solution provides capabilities for monitoring, managing, and maintaining assets to optimize productivity and deploy preventive and predictive maintenance strategies.

Learn more about IBM Maximo Application Suite


Why is sustainable transportation infrastructure important?

Sustainable transportation infrastructure is crucial for combating climate change and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. It helps mitigate environmental impact, improves compliance with regulations, lowers fuel costs, enhances maintenance procedures, and extends the lifespan of assets.

What are the advantages of building sustainable transportation infrastructure?

Building sustainable transportation infrastructure offers several benefits for businesses, including better compliance with environmental regulations, lower fuel costs, more efficient maintenance procedures, and increased asset availability, performance, and lifespan.

What are some best practices for building sustainable transportation infrastructure?

Some best practices for building sustainable transportation infrastructure include prioritizing sustainability goals, utilizing modern asset management solutions, upgrading maintenance programs to preventive or predictive approaches, enhancing asset monitoring with IoT and AI, and leveraging digital twin technologies for planning.


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