NACo has released a new report, Smart Infrastructure: Technology Solutions for More Resilient Counties. The report examines how counties are improving transportation, water and energy infrastructure with technology to provide more efficient and effective services.
Infrastructure provides the backbone for county operations. Counties invest more than $100 billion annually in roads, bridges, transit, water systems and other public infrastructure. Counties build and maintain 45 percent of public roads and 40 percent of bridges, are involved in one-third of transit systems and airports across the U.S., support 960 hospitals throughout the U.S., and spend an annual $23.3 billion on correctional facilities and $18.6 billion on sewage and waste management
Inevitably, existing infrastructure succumbs to wear and tear through use and exposure to the elements. Decisions about how to repair or even replace infrastructure can have drastic effects on how counties grow, impacting not only the built environment but local economic conditions as well. With the rise in technological advancements over the last few decades, counties are exploring opportunities to incorporate technologies into new and existing transportation, energy and water infrastructure projects, along with other areas including jails, courthouses, hospital and healthcare facilities, libraries and solid waste and recycling facilities.
The result is so-called “smart infrastructure” that enables counties to manage traffic, monitor water usage in real-time, make adjustments to the electric grid based on consumption and more.
These new and emerging technologies allow counties to run government services in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. This issue brief serves as a guide for county leaders to better understand the opportunities that smart infrastructure can provide to make their counties more resilient, efficient and safe.