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Public needs and ambitions

Public needs and ambitions

AECOM launches its second annual global infrastructure report.

AECOM released its second annual global infrastructure report, The Future of Infrastructure: Voice of the People, which captures data and opinions from 10,000 residents across 10 major global cities — Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New York, Riyadh, Singapore, Sydney, and Toronto. The report is grouped into four themes to gather insight into the public’s infrastructure needs and ambitions for the industry: satisfaction, engagement, innovation, and resilience.

“Residents of cities around the world want greater say in infrastructure planning, and they are growing impatient with delays in the delivery of modern infrastructure systems that can improve mobility, connectivity, and quality of life,” said AECOM Chairman and CEO Michael S. Burke. “Their views should be a call to action for wider government engagement, and new public and private partnerships that can advance ideas, funding, and advocacy, and speed the projects that lead to growth and urban well-being.”

The survey’s results showed that while every city has its own distinct identity, people around the world share similar views and experiences with their infrastructure. While city dwellers have a positive outlook for the future, they are also restless for action to improve their infrastructure immediately. They are stressed when using public transportation and want their cities to be greener, safer, and better connected. Most importantly, they want to have a voice in how infrastructure systems are planned, paid for, developed, and operated.

Following are five key insights from this year’s report:

There is a clear public engagement gap. Most of the cities underperform when it comes to engaging with their citizens on infrastructure, with an aggregate global average of 3.3 out of 10. It is highest in Mumbai (5.9) and lowest in Sydney, Chicago, and Hong Kong (2.7 each). Respondents said they want a more focused interaction, which could go a long way toward improving perceptions of city governments’ performance on infrastructure and securing support for future projects.

Residents want to help — and some are willing to pay. Almost half (46 percent) of respondents overall are willing to share personal data — the lifeblood of smart cities — to help city agencies improve infrastructure and services. In several cities (37 percent of respondents globally), residents indicated a willingness to pay higher taxes to fund infrastructure improvements. Both commitments underscore citizens’ desire to play their part in delivering better infrastructure.

Boosting resilience against cyberattacks is a pressing concern. More respondents have confidence in their city’s ability to protect infrastructure against natural disasters and terrorist attacks than those who do not. However, less than one-third (32 percent) have confidence in their city’s defenses against cyberattacks. Citizens need increased reassurance from city authorities about the capabilities of their infrastructure to withstand such events.

Wanted: More private-sector involvement. A clear majority of city residents overall (63 percent) believe the private sector should be more involved in the development of infrastructure. This effort could help contribute to the financing, development, and management of better infrastructure.

Upgrading public transportation and enhancing environmental sustainability are top improvement priorities. Upgrading public transportation — particularly roads and underground rail — is the top infrastructure priority for those surveyed. Improving environmental sustainability — through solar power, recycling, and wastewater reuse initiatives, for example — is a close second and tops five cities’ to-do lists.

Download The Future of Infrastructure: Voice of the People report or review city-specific results at https://infrastructure.aecom.com.

Information provided by AECOM (www.aecom.com).