Working towards the future of smart infrastructure

Digitalisation has changed the way that transport infrastructure works and how it is implemented. Here, representatives from Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions Ltd, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, ERTICO-ITS Europe and the UIC provide detail on three H2020-funded projects that are working to develop smarter infrastructure.


Recognising the importance of transport infrastructure safety and the need for innovation, the European Commission initiated a call for submissions under the H2020-funding scheme to help advance novel approaches to transport safety. Three separate research projects received funding, with the common focus being to enhance transport safety as we move into a future dominated by new and ever-evolving technology. The key objective of these three research projects is to ensure that our future infrastructure is ‘smart’.

Effective infrastructure maintenance for transport networks is crucial to ensure the safety of network users. Many road, rail and inland waterway infrastructure owners across the globe are faced with ageing infrastructure assets, increasing traffic demands and ever-decreasing annual maintenance budgets. Climate change impacts, which have led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, are affecting the situation, leading to increased environmental loads on infrastructure assets, more hazardous operating conditions, a general increase in the number of asset failures and, consequently, increased risk for passengers.

Recent technological advances, including wireless sensor networks, improved data-hosting and processing capabilities, and advanced communication technologies, offer the possibility of developing innovative solutions for the effective management of transport infrastructure.

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