50 Must-See Report Cards, Studies and Infographics on America’s Crumbling Infrastructure

by Linda on November 08, 2010

America’s infrastructure is aging, and the solutions to repair transportation, waterways, construction and urban and rural environments are hot-button issues for all engineers, the general public and for politicians. Learn the facts about these issues through our 50 must-see report cards, studies and infographics on this country’s crumbling infrastructures.

The list is categorized, and each link is listed alphabetically within those categories.

InfrastructureOverall Infrastructure Reports

  1. America’s Crumbling Infrastructure: The History Channel prepared this broadcast in 2009, using expert interviews, on-location shooting and computer-generated animation.
  2. America’s Infrastructure: Ramping Up or Crashing Down [PDF]: This report was prepared by the Brookings Institute on 2006 and 2007 forums.
  3. Blueprint America: This PBS project provides a spotlight on America’s decaying and neglected infrastructure.
  4. Financing America’s Infrastructure: This 2008 report shows the limits on available funds for rebuilding in federal, state, and local government coffers.
  5. Future Investment in Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure: This is a Congressional Budget Office Report from 2002 that looks at future decades and possible issues.
  6. Infrastructure USA: This is an online community that discusses and reports on civil infrastructure through images, polls and a blog.
  7. Remarks by the President [Obama] on Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure: This 2010 speech states that America’s roads cost Americans $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel.
  8. Report Card for America’s Infrastructure: You want a full report? This is where you can find it, from aviation to wastewater, provided by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
  9. U.S. Aging Infrastructure: Which Sectors Are Primed for Private Investing Growth? This report focuses on the financial perspectives involved with possible growth in various infrastructure areas.
  10. World Business Council for Sustainable Development: Focus areas include energy and climate, development and ecosystems in projects that range from water to mining and minerals.

SchoolsUrban and Rural Infrastructure

  1. A national assessment of green infrastructure and change for the conterminous United States using morphological image processing [PDF]: This report focuses on green infrastructure.
  2. American Planning Association: This site focuses on urban planning, community involvement and education.
  3. Case Studies — Green Schools and Universities: You’ll find descriptions, photographs, and plans of high performance green school and university facilities.
  4. Educational Infrastructure: The Inter-American Development Bank offers a project that responds to the demand for schools.
  5. Grand Challenges for Engineering: The National Academy of Engineering looks at numerous challenges to development and current infrastructures.
  6. IGERT: The University of Colorado at Denver focuses on sustainable urban infrastructure as it integrates engineering, planning, policy, health and human behavior perspectives.
  7. Rural Infrastructure: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is placing increasing emphasis on rural infrastructure.
  8. Smarter Cities: IBM looks at the need for safer neighborhoods, quality schools, affordable housing and traffic that flows.
  9. Strengthening the Rural Economy — Strengthening Rural Infrastructure: The White House reports on rural transportation, telecommunications, and energy and water infrastructure.
  10. The Pressure on Urban Infrastructure [PDF]: As society changes, the demand for infrastructure also changes. This report focuses on this progress as it pertains to urban developments.

TransportTransportation Infrastructure

  1. 2008 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit: This report is available as individual chapters in Adobe PDF format.
  2. 2009 National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission Report [PDF]: A bipartisan Congressional commission offers its consensus view and road map for reform of the nation’s transportation infrastructure funding approach.
  3. America’s Bridges are Falling Down: Robert Longly, About.com’s U.S. Government Info Guide, provides this 2009 report on America’s bridges.
  4. America’s Bridges Still Falling Down: CBS offered a 2008 report card on America’s bridges one year after the deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse.
  5. GAO Public Transportation [PDF]: This is the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s 2009 report to Congressional Committees.
  6. Keeping America’s Bridges Safe and Sound: This is a “Bridging the Gap” report offered by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHO).
  7. National Association of Railroad Passengers: NARP, the largest national membership advocacy organization for train and rail transit passengers, reports on rail as travel alternative.
  8. PublicTransit.us: This site offers a wealth of information about public transit, and offers links to many other sites concerned about building and rebuilding public transport systems.
  9. Restoring America’s Bridges [PDF]: This presentation is a report card on current conditions and for possible solutions to failing bridges.
  10. Rail Planning: This blog is dedicated to the global practice and application of freight and passenger rail planning.
  11. Top 4 Ways to Spend Money on U.S. Air Travel Infrastructure: This Popular Mechanics article outlines ways to improve aviation infrastructure.

Panama CanalWaterways Infrastructures

  1. A 21st Century Waterways Infrastructure [PDF]: The National Trade Association of the Tugboat, Towboat and Barge Industry offer this short and concise report.
  2. Dams and Dam Removal: This American Rivers site plays a leadership role in the Hydropower Reform Coalition, working to reform dam operations.
  3. Infrastructure Protection Report: Amusement, Theme, and Water Parks: This report looks at possibilities of terrorist attacks on park facilities.
  4. National Committee on Levee Safety: The NCLS is a committee of federal, state, local, and private sector members with the direction from Congress to prepare recommendations and a strategic implementation plan on a National Levee Safety Program.
  5. Old American Dams Quietly Become a Multibillion-Dollar Threat: Wired offers a 2009 rundown on American dams with numerous links to other reports.
  6. Ports and Navigable Waterways — Immigration and Infrastructure: The Social Contract Press offers this 2008-2009 report on marine infrastucture, including port facilities and navigable waterways.
  7. Projects and Facilities Database: On this website, Reclamation projects located throughout the Western U.S. are reviewed in detail.
  8. The Evolution of Stormwater Quality Control: Learn more about this history and about today’s requirements and hopes for the future.
  9. Water Conservation in Schools: This is the National Institute of Building Sciences resource list of links, books and journal articles on water issues in school buildings and grounds.
  10. Water Infrastructure: This EPA report branches out into a variety of waterways/WaterSense and sustainable infrastructure issues.

EnvironmentalismSolutions, News, Action Groups and Tools

  1. America’s Infrastructure: Miller Center National Discussion and Debate Series: This is a PBS lesson plan for 7-12 grades, but can be used for discussion groups as well.
  2. Building America’s Future: This site is a bipartisan coalition of elected officials dedicated to bringing about a new era of U.S. investment in infrastructure.
  3. Guiding Principles for Strengthening America’s Infrastructure [PDF]: The Center for Strategic and International Studies prepared this report in 2006.
  4. Here’s What the Future of America’s Infrastructure Might Look Like: This article covers several topics, from transportation to sewage.
  5. Rebuilding America Special Report: How to Fix U.S. Infrastructure: In 2008, Popular Mechanics uncovered the ideas, engineering and technology required to fix America’s infrastructure.
  6. Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure: This site supports engineers and transportation professionals.
  7. Rebuilding and Renewing America: This infrastructure portion of the America 2050 site offers responses to repairing the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure systems.
  8. Save America’s Infrastructure: This Facebook page belongs to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  9. Transportation for America: This coalition of housing, business, environmental, public health, transportation, equitable development, and other organizations seek to realize a better transportation system that works for all Americans.

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