ASCE Unveils New Infrastructure GameChangers

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently designated 13 new Infrastructure GameChangers — groundbreaking infrastructure projects and programs that represent the latest innovations in transportation, water and energy infrastructure that are transforming the way engineers plan, build and adapt to the nation's infrastructure needs. 

Following these new additions, 40 states are now represented by an ASCE GameChanger that meets at least one of these criteria: innovative technologies, creative funding mechanisms, trend-setting standards, and unique collaborations between agencies or private firms.

"Our nation's infrastructure just received a C- in ASCE's 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, which is not the type of grade you want to bring home," says ASCE President Jean-Louis Briaud. "Promoting innovative practices, principles and projects are one of the ways in which we can improve this grade. With resources stretched thin, finding solutions that can make the most of the tools afforded us can be a challenge, but is an essential component of improving the built environment. This year's GameChangers are a testament to the forward-thinking nature of the engineering community."

Among the latest additions to ASCE's Infrastructure GameChangers are the following water-related projects:

Atlanta, Georgia, startup RanMarine's WasteShark drone travels through waterways to collect litter, biomass, microplastic and other debris using a basket underneath the device. In addition to removing litter, the drone also collects data on water conditions. Sensors allow the WasteShark to analyze water temperature, pH levels, depth, green algae, or hydrocarbons in oil.

The Cary, North Carolina, flood prediction monitoring system is set to save the flood-prone town millions of dollars in unnecessary damages. The town partnered with SAS and Microsoft to create a system which uses wireless sensors and rain gauges to detect water rising in local sources, which is then transmitted to a database where officials can see expected water level rise based on the current data. Once transmitted, the town uses an Internet of Things platform to send alerts to all local departments so that preparations can be made to mitigate floods.

The Hillsboro, Oregon, In-Pipe Hydroelectic Project converts excess water pressure to carbon-free electricity and is the first renewable energy project that features In-PRV smart water technology. The groundbreaking technology is expected to generate anywhere from 185,000 to 200,000 kWh of electricity per year, which will be used for electric vehicle charging stations and a local recreation center. Installation of this technology will reduce more than 162,000 pounds of carbon annually — or the equivalent of 240,000 driven miles off the road every year.

These projects are only a sample of the innovations happening in the industry that can help address the challenges our systems face across the country, which were outlined in the 2021 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, released March 3. The Report Card assessed 17 categories of infrastructure and assigned a cumulative GPA of C-, a modest improvement from the D+ given in 2017.

Read about the other projects here.


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