Operating within appropriate fiscal limits means maximising existing infrastructure assets. Achieving better utilisation of existing assets increases infrastructure capacity to better support communities and has the potential to minimise or avoid the need to fund additional infrastructure.
Before implementing new infrastructure responses, the demands on existing infrastructure need to be evaluated and managed. This can be achieved by exploring opportunities to:
- adopt new technologies such as smart traffic management systems and real-time energy and water metering systems
- use land more efficiently by co-locating services, or by allocating road space to support increased mass transit services
- change user behaviours by flexible pricing and other policies
- develop and implement travel plans to encourage the use of sustainable transport choices.
To maximise asset utilisation, new precincts and new developments need to incorporate demand management, and where appropriate, be sequenced to be contiguous with existing developments so that existing demand management initiatives can be extended.
Improved asset planning calls for place-based infrastructure investment that achieves higher levels of social, economic and environmental outcomes. Current planning and appraisal processes tend to emphasise infrastructure as discrete, sectorspecific assets. This creates barriers to identifying and exploiting potentially valuable place-based interdependencies. Similarly, these approaches are unable to identify potentially hazardous and costly interdependencies in a systemic manner. A functional transit corridor, for example, should incorporate essential utilities such as digital connectivity and energy.
This approach reinforces the need for a place-based assessment of infrastructure through measures such as growth infrastructure compacts where scenario testing is used to identify key inter-relationships, triggers and thresholds in the sequencing of land use change and infrastructure delivery.
A major challenge for providers of infrastructure is to realise the innovative opportunities in placebased interdependencies, and so increase value for money, sustainability and resilience. It is necessary to recognise that real-world infrastructure systems are highly interconnected, both with each other and with the socio-economic and natural systems in which they are located.
Maximise the utility of existing infrastructure assets and consider strategies to influence behaviour changes, to reduce the demand for new infrastructure, including supporting the development of adaptive and flexible regulations to allow decentralised utilities.