Asee peer logo

Enhancing Infrastructure Management Education Through Collaboration

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Advances in Civil Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.564.1 - 9.564.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Zhanmin Zhang

author page

Susan Tighe

author page

Gerardo Flintsch

author page

Kristen Sanford Bernhardt Orcid 16x16

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Enhancing Infrastructure Management Education through Collaboration

Gerardo W. Flintsch, Kristen L. Sanford Bernhardt, Zhanmin Zhang, Susan Tighe

Virginia Tech / Lafayette College / University of Texas at Austin / University of Waterloo


Efficient and well-maintained infrastructure systems are essential for societal stability, economic growth, and sustainable competitiveness. Although the United States is served by some of the best civil infrastructure systems in the world (valued at more than 20 trillion dollars)1, many of the current systems are reaching the end of their service lives. For example, the United States infrastructure earned only a D+ in a recent American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) survey2. This ASCE report also estimates that the investment needs to bring the condition of these deteriorated systems to an “acceptable level” is estimated at more than 1.6 trillion dollars. Consequently, we must emphasize the maintenance and renewal of our infrastructure by using sound infrastructure management principles.

The term “infrastructure management” has been used since the 1980s to describe the activities involved in maintaining and rehabilitating civil infrastructure systems, such as transportation, water, and wastewater. Transportation infrastructure management has typically focused on systems of bridges or pavements. More recently, the term “asset management” has been used to describe the high-level planning and implementation of good stewardship of these facilities. While there is no standard definition for the term “infrastructure management,” “asset management” has been defined as “… a systematic process of maintaining, upgrading, and operating physical assets cost-effectively”3. Although in its broadest sense the term asset management also includes the management of non-physical assets, in practice the terms have been used interchangeably. For consistency, the term “infrastructure management” is used throughout this paper.

Technological advances in the last decade have resulted in significant growth in the infrastructure management field. For example, improved sensing technologies provide better information about facility condition. Advanced materials and more sophisticated equipment have increased facility life-spans. However, probably the most revolutionary advances have resulted from increases in computing power. Today’s computers can store and analyze large quantities of data, allowing the evaluation of different maintenance and rehabilitation options in terms of timing, location, and actions. Nevertheless, even with these technological advances, additional improvement is needed in areas such as information management and data integration, condition assessment, performance prediction, life-cycle analysis, and resource allocation optimization.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering

Zhang, Z., & Tighe, S., & Flintsch, G., & Sanford Bernhardt, K. (2004, June), Enhancing Infrastructure Management Education Through Collaboration Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13589

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015