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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Terry Jenkins
Bio: Terry Jenkins
Date:  May 7, 2019
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Topic category:  Current Events - News, Sports, Weather

Can Big Data Save America's Struggling Infrastructure?

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the United States infrastructure system earned a D+ in the latest nationwide engineering survey, which took place in 2017. Unfortunately, this poor performance affects not only the safety of American citizens but also the nationís economic productivity. Can something be done about this?

Big Data: ďA data & computer science term for large data sets that data scientists structure and analyze in order to make smarter short & long term decisions. First used in the technology and business sectors, big data across virtually every industry including athletics and cosmetics.Ē

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the United States infrastructure system earned a D+ in the latest nationwide engineering survey, which took place in 2017. Unfortunately, this poor performance affects not only the safety of American citizens, but also the nationís economic productivity.

Researchers estimate that approximately 70-percent of the nationís levees may not provide adequate protection against flooding. Furthermore, 20,350 miles of the nationís levees are not accredited, and 2000 miles of levees are at risk of failing. In addition, many of the roads that you drive on and bridges you cross are potentially unsafe.

Big data has helped leaders across a range of industries make remarkable advancements. What if big data systems could also help researchers fix Americaís failing infrastructure?

Big Data to the Rescue

The ASCE expresses that the quality of Americaís infrastructure directly contributes to the nationís economic success or failure. Fortunately, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched an initiative scheduled to roll out from 2018 to 2022 that will improve Americaís infrastructure.

The DOT will use building information modeling (BIM) software to capture an immense amount of data and make America's infrastructure safe for citizens. The department will use the technology to capture, evaluate and monitor information collected about traffic flow. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that inspectors will be able to collect 2.75 times more data by leveraging construction technology partnerships.

Using emerging interactive technology, engineers will become empowered to build stable, safe structures. Modern eConstruction technology, for instance, enables building professionals to save their work on the cloud and quickly share it with partners.

Also, engineers will have the ability to upload schematics that reflect the latest industry best practices. Modern BIM technology will allow construction partners to annotate comments right on the plan and collaborate nearly instantaneously. As for maintaining the nationís infrastructure, it will enable engineers to optimize the repair process and deliver timely information to on-site maintenance crews.

It's Time for Change

Today, agencies face a challenge in managing a massive volume of information thatís inbound with increasing speed. For these organizations, employing skilled talent that can work with advancements such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive computing will be required to manage this influx.

By effectively managing big data, the nationís agencies can reduce infrastructure costs and improve national safety. Moreover, agencies will become empowered to share what works Ė and what doesnít. For now, government agencies are undergoing a process of evolution, along with the rest of the big data ecosystem.

Nevertheless, emerging big data practices will enable agencies to leverage information to improve the nationís infrastructure. More importantly, a nationwide network of internet-connected sensors can help the government develop and maintain a system to ensure the quality of Americaís most important infrastructure features.

Now, the demand for improvement has spurred the government to join for-profit enterprises and leveraging data to improve performance. Like their corporate counterparts, the nationís leaders will benefit greatly from the discovery of hidden insights that are only apparent with big data analysis.

People Are Behind the Technology

Moving forward, United States agencies will be tasked with collecting, protecting and analyzing an enormous amount of data. Agency leaders will need statisticians who can work with data to produce actionable insights.

Already, the government makes use of statisticians for initiatives such as the U.S. Census. Now, the nationís leaders will once again call on these specialists. This is a phenomenal step toward improving the safety of America's infrastructure.

Specific initiatives demand the skill set of highly qualified statisticians. They bear exceedingly specialized skills. Agencies will task statisticians with solving extremely complex engineering problems.

Professionals whoíve earned a Masterís degree in applied statistics have a deep understanding of how to apply statistical solutions to real-life problems. Statisticians also work as information research scientists alongside engineers. In fact, statistics are a vital part of solving complex engineering problems. As an example, statisticians might review project specifications, workflows and control systems. They may also develop management and cost analysis systems. In this capacity, they leverage advanced technologies such as machine learning to produce remarkable insights.

The most important skill of a statistician is the ability to express complex ideas to all project stakeholders. As the nationís agencies increasingly leverage big data systems to improve infrastructure, the demand for statisticians will rise. Accordingly, opportunities will increase for qualified candidates. More importantly, however, the nation citizens will have the benefit of enjoying a safer infrastructure Ė all thanks to big data technology.

Terry Jenkins

Biography - Terry Jenkins

Terry Jenkins is a former dirt track racer and auto-mechanic who got the spark to become a transportation engineer after getting stuck in a traffic jam one Sunday coming home from church. With the belief that cars are too beautiful and powerful to be stuck bunched together moving a few miles per hour, Terry is passionate about fixing America's transportation infrastructure. Outside of work, Terry enjoys helping at his brothers auto-shop, listening to the band KISS & race-driving legend Richard Petty.

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