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Articles on Road infrastructure

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In 1872, John Gast painted ‘American Progress,’ showing trains and roads spreading across the American West. John Gast, Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons

Infrastructure spending has always involved social engineering

Government investment in roads, railroads and other public services has always involved social programming, both for good and for ill.
NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance announces a move to the next stage of planning for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project in November 2019. Dean Lewins/AAP

Is another huge and costly road project really Sydney’s best option right now?

Once again, the state looks intent on pressing ahead with a huge road project without releasing a business case. Among the many concerns is the failure to look at lower-emission alternatives.
Smart transport solutions make better use of existing infrastructure and reduce the need to build expensive new roads. AdobeStock

Smart tech systems cut congestion for a fraction of what new roads cost

Faced with the eye-watering costs of building infrastructure, it makes sense to turn to much more cost-effective smart technology to get traffic flowing.
Commuters at Epping train station board replacement buses during work on the line for the Sydney Metro, the biggest of all the promised projects. Mick Tsikas/AAP

How the NSW election promises on transport add up

The major parties are promising projects costing tens of billions of dollars, with a surprisingly large overlap between them. Yet only two have been endorsed by infrastructure authorities.
Federal and state governments have put their hands up to fund airport rail links before we have even seen business cases. David Crosling/AAP

Missing evidence base for big calls on infrastructure costs us all

Billions of taxpayer dollars are committed before all the evidence for, and against, infrastructure projects is in. As well as missing business cases, basic rules of economic modelling are broken.
Sydney’s WestConnex is being constructed as a “high priority” project, despite its business case failing to meet Infrastructure Australia’s stated requirements. Ben Rushton/AAP

A closer look at business cases raises questions about ‘priority’ national infrastructure projects

Analysis of the business cases for three of the biggest projects deemed “high priority” by Infrastructure Australia raises questions about the process.
The Amazon rainforest is fed by a rich network of creeks, streams and rivers. Informal road construction is now endangering this critical ecosystem. Rickey Rogers/Reuters

Amazonian dirt roads are choking Brazil’s tropical streams

Thousands of dirt roads crisscross the Brazilian Amazon, serving ranchers, loggers and miners. The area’s fragile waterways — and the spectacular fish that live in them — pay a high price.
Could a secret ingredient make crumbling concrete a thing of the past? m_e_mccarron

Fungi can help concrete heal its own cracks

Adding a bit of fungus to the initial ingredient list might be one way to endow concrete with the ability to fill in any bits of damage that occur, without the need for human intervention.

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