Data Updates to U.S. Infrastructure Report-Card App
The American Society of Civil Engineers is reminding the nation of its standing D+ infrastructure rating by updating the data and design of its IOS and Android app.
The 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, updated on Dec. 11, gives users access to the most recent ASCE data on the nation’s infrastructure, parsed out by segment—Water and Environment, Transportation, Public Facilities and Energy—and state.
“What we did was updated as much of the state-level facts and data as possible,” says Brian Pallasch, managing director of government relations and infrastructure initiatives at ASCE. The design and usability of the app, originally released in 2013, were also updated.
Pallasch says the app’s success stories are another important update and show how at least a portion of a state’s infrastructure improved. “Positive things are happening: innovations, improvements, improved funding in pieces of legislation,” says Pallasch, who adds that he’s still hopeful the Highway Trust Fund will improve next year.
“Saying that roads, dams and drinking water only earned D grades will get someone’s attention, but their next questions will be about context,” says William A. Wallace, president of the Wallace Futures Group, a Steamboat Spring, Colo., sustainability consulting firm. He cited some of those possible questions: What does a D grade really mean, what are the consequences, and how do we raise the grade?
“That’s where the app comes in,” adds Wallace. It explains the data behind the grades; for example: Michigan’s D grade comes, in part, from its 88 high-hazard dams and 1,298 structurally deficient bridges. California’s C grade is partly due to the $44.5 billion needed to upgrade its drinking-water systems.
“We released the app to get our information to as many people as possible,” says Pallasch. “When we did this in book form, we only printed 6,000 copies. Now, it’s available to anyone worldwide.”