Research for Future Infrastructure Networks in Europe - reFINE
Europe's Infrastructures are our Lifelines
There are unmistakable indicators that urban areas will keep growing - driven by the continuous relative and absolute population growth - regarding their economic, environmental and energetic impact. It is estimated that by the year 2020 ca. 70% of the world's population will be dwelling in urban areas. Hence, cities as systems will have to cope - more than ever before - to process, distribute and recycle resources and information.
Today's infrastructures - the artery systems of our society - are often strained beyond their originally intended capacities e.g. for private and public transport. Furthermore, large parts of the utility networks require significant refurbishment and adaptation activities. In addition, increase in demand for supplies, information transport - and more generally a paradigm shift regarding the environmental awareness coupled with energy demand and availability scenarios requiring immediate action - leads to the conclusion that the major stakeholders have to elaborate a new overall scheme.
As a consequence of the work proposed, underground construction will be more costeffective, safer and more environmentally friendly. The consequence of this will be that underground space will be increasingly used to alleviate pressing problems that will confront the European society in the next 20 years: Traffic congestion (freight transport is expected to increase by 60% from 2004 to 2020), increasing urbanization (mega cities), lack of space and pollution of air and water. In addition, European industry will be more competitive in the world market.
The Construction Sector will keep playing the prominent role in most infrastructure activities. As major stakeholder, and specialized in integrating a great variety of technologies and processes as well as fields of expertise, construction can, particularly through ECTP, foster and moderate the process of developing a roadmap.
Challenges to be tackled
Infrastructures are expected to provide reliable service for very long periods of time, covering major technology changes, spanning several generations and experiencing dramatic evolutions of the individual and collective aspirations for quality of life. The increasing demand for mobility and supply is driven first by demographic growth, but also by a number of factors such as urbanisation or macro economic development. Climate change is another major driver which will force us to alter our behavioural patterns regarding consumption of energy, supply and transport of goods, and even our leisure time. All these factors affect infrastructure lines and their nodes. Networks at the service of society should aim at enhancing the level of service offered to the citizens regarding efficient and effective mobility, which includes inter-operability and information of lines and supply while meeting social, environmental and economical objectives.
Mission and Target
reFINE is a networking forum within ECTP for all stakeholders that see the need to comprehensively tackle the challenges infrastructures are facing. Construction is an integrating platform for a multitude of trades and crafts that shapes our daily and immediate environment. ECTP provides the grounds to facilitate innovative approaches for the needs of European society. reFINE targets a European-wide infrastructure initiative aiming to develop RDI-programme dedicated to infrastructure topics.
You are interested and would like more information? You would like to participate?
Great, please contact Miguel Segarra from Dragados (Spain)