The global infrastructure crisis

We’re one of the most wasteful countries in the world – day after day tossing ridiculous amounts of money and valuable resources in the trash. 

We are facing a global infrastructure crisis, and inaction now will cost future generations dearly

Cement is one of the global economy’s most carbon-polluting industries, second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet. Recognising the gravity of this problem, every government in the world agreed annual carbon emissions from cement would be reduced by at least 16% by 2030. Despite this pledge concrete is being consumed by the road maintenance sector at an unprecedented rate and rather than decreasing, consumption is rapidly increasing, providing one of our greatest levers against climate change.

But we need to act now- we are beyond the tipping point- we are now borrowing resources from future generations to repair our roads. While most people are acclimatised to it, roadside infrastructure, which is vital to the safety of our roads, is highly vulnerable to damage with hundreds of thousands of items and the surrounding foundations repeatedly dug up and replaced every year in Australia- this problem is consuming billions of tonnes globally. Unless we act now, with rapidly increasing populations and depleting resources, our children simply may not be able to repair the degradation we have caused.

Concrete provides one of our greatest levers against climate change

From damaged signage to missing barriers or defective traffic light signals, the ‘health’ of these ubiquitous assets can have a massive impact on the efficiency and safety of our roads and urban spaces. Yet, until now, the technology to effectively reduce the degradation hasn’t been available to the organisations responsible for installing and maintaining these features, such as local authorities and utilities companies. In the absence of such technology our roads remain in a constant state of decline. We are now at a turning point having reached what has been termed a “global infrastructure crisis” as the fast-growing workload is quickly outstripping funding and each year, this problem continues to grow.  

It is predicted that our urban populations will increase by as much as 80% by 2050. With more cars on our roads and a growing number of underground services this work grows increasingly dangerous and difficult to perform. Digging up and replacing the concrete foundations, footpaths and traffic islands is time consuming resulting in ever-increasing delays and disturbance that create potential issues with road safety. A missing stop sign can easily cause a fatal accident; a damaged traffic light can very likely result in a multi car accident; and the growing number of roadworks, in our cities is creating a whole new problem we haven’t seen before. 

All this hard work is getting us nowhere

Hundreds of thousands of roadside items are required to keep our roads and urban spaces safe but these immovable objects are highly vulnerable to wear and tear and damage from errant vehicles, resulting in an ever-increasing amount of carbon waste and consumption of these finite resources. Day after day hundreds of hard-working citizens risk their lives keeping our roads safe and in good working condition, yet all this hard work is getting us nowhere. We are borrowing resources from future generations repeatedly replacing these valuable concrete foundations and every year the damage, the costs, the associated risks performing this work and the carbon consumption continue to grow. All this hard work is getting us nowhere!

We are committed to being part of the solution.

Smart Urban has developed as simple low-cost solution to all of these problems, enabling the development of truly circular economy where resources are reused for the entire lifespan of a development (100 years+).

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