ASCE Board Sets Strategic Direction; Approves Policies, Budget

July 22, 2016

The ASCE Board of Direction has endorsed updated strategies to improve the state of America’s infrastructure, transform the profession so that civil infrastructure is more sustainable, and reduce the life-cycle cost of infrastructure by 50 percent by 2025 and foster the optimization of infrastructure investments for society.

At its July 8-9 meeting in San Diego, the Board held strategic discussions on the Society’s Sustainable Infrastructure and Grand Challenge strategic initiatives, while also approving a new budget for the 2017 fiscal year and passing new policies on connected and autonomous vehicles and the application of prevailing wages to professional survey crews, among other actions and dialogue.

Putting the nation’s infrastructure on center stage

On the infrastructure front, ASCE is committed to further strengthening its role as a credible, trusted, and effective advocate with public and private sector decision-makers and the general public. To address this goal in the near term, the Society will complete work on the 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which is scheduled for release in March 2017.

To help get there, ASCE will continue to promote solutions to the challenge of adequately funding the maintenance of existing infrastructure systems. Proposed solutions will include those that address sustainability, resilience, and reduce the life-cycle cost of projects.

ASCE will also work to build the Society’s relationships with a broad range of stakeholders and allies, including identifying and enlisting support from constituencies affected by, but not directly involved with, designing or building the infrastructure, such as business groups, infrastructure users, environmentalists, police, PTA, health professionals, and the like.

Through ASCE’s longstanding work in producing its Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, highlighting success stories, and proposing new solutions, the Society has continued to be a leader on these issues at both the national and state levels. ASCE was a key player in the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in December 2015 and advancing the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) in Congress with key provisions advocated by ASCE.

The Society will also continue its work in collaborating with ASCE local sections to produce state Report Cards, which have been highly effective in mobilizing action in state legislatures to improve local infrastructure. With the help of ASCE and its local Sections, in the past three years 16 states have passed gas tax increases to provide sorely needed funding for infrastructure.

Sustainable communities through civil engineering

Ensuring that civil infrastructure becomes increasingly sustainable, the Board endorsed the ambitious goal to transform the profession so that all civil engineering is sustainable; the practices of civil engineering must be revised and transformed. To move in that direction, the Board approved the following key priorities proposed by the Committee on Sustainability:

• Build the capacity of civil engineers to achieve visions and principles of sustainable development

• Develop new standards and protocols in life-cycle assessment, resilience, and sustainability

• Focus on community needs and purpose beginning with the development stages of infrastructure projects and programs

Refining the Grand Challenge

To complement such efforts, the Board endorsed the further refinement of the ASCE Grand Challenge, which seeks to reduce the life-cycle cost of infrastructure by 50 percent by 2025 and foster the optimization of infrastructure investments for society.

This equally ambitious effort seeks to transform infrastructure life-cycle performance through mechanisms including performance-based standards, life-cycle cost analysis, the consideration, management, and integration of risk, asset management, investment prioritization, and project delivery. Also required is establishment of a strong network to share and drive the transformation, new content to guide change, new ways to prepare the workforce, and fostering a well-established culture of innovation for infrastructure.

Key among the actions for ASCE are leading the transformation to performance based standards and the promotion of life-cycle cost analysis. To drive new ideas and approaches, ASCE will ramp up its Innovation Contest, which successfully debuted this year. The goal is to attract even more entries, generate patent submittals, and undertake campaigns for government adoption of innovative ideas. Additionally, ASCE will work to promote and incorporate performance based standards in the Society’s codes and standards and develop resilience metrics.

To better prepare the future workforce, ASCE aims to engage practitioners and universities to incorporate the Grand Challenge into the curricula of civil engineering programs and develop web-based programs to educate civil engineers on Grand Challenge topics.

New ASCE professional policies

The Board considered three new and 43 revised public policies statements addressing civil engineering issues. One of the new policies that was approved is:

Connected and autonomous vehicles—ASCE supports the planning and development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV), which includes the technologies to advance their development and the planning, design, operation, and maintenance of the surface roadways that support them. ASCE encourages CAV development as a viable alternative to conventional surface transportation to help address congestion, distracted drivers, vehicle performance, and vehicle safety. ASCE cautions that the availability of autonomous vehicles might increase vehicle miles of travel, resulting in increased congestion if policies governing their use are not carefully considered.

A budget for member value

To place the Society on a sound financial path to serve members and advance civil engineering, the Board approved a fiscal year 2017 budget. To keep pace with the rising costs that affect all organizations, the budget increases member dues to $240 a year after three years of ASCE dues remaining unchanged.

The value ASCE provides is stronger than ever, including:

• Five free PDHs for on-demand seminars, a value of $495

• Free membership in the technical institute of the member’s choice. ASCE has also launched a ninth technical institute, serving the needs of civil engineers in the utilities industry

• Discounts on ASCE conferences, continuing education, publications and merchandise, with savings on a conference alone averaging $200

• A completely new web platform for the upcoming edition of ASCE-7 standard, which will offer users many new features

• Preparation of the 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

• Eleven issues each of the award-winning Civil Engineering magazine, as well as access to exclusive online magazine content

The Board’s 10 Region Directors provided details on other July meeting activities in the July 22 ASCE News Weekly‘s Region News reports. Each is available at the following links:
Region 1 | Region 2 | Region 3 | Region 4 | Region 5
Region 6 | Region 7 | Region 8 | Region 9 | Region 10 – Global Link

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