Infrastructure 2014: shaping the competitive city

Key Concern: Long-Term Operations and Maintenance

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When infrastructure investments are planned, how often are the costs of long-term maintenance and operations taken into account, and the needed resources identified? Are cities seen as adequately accounting for long-term infrastructure needs? Our survey confirms that both public and private leaders are concerned about how long-term operations and maintenance of infrastructure are resourced.

  • 30% of survey respondents overall said that long-term operations and maintenance are usually neglected
  • 72% said operations and maintenance costs were considered some of the time or not at all
  • 25% of survey respondents said that long-term operations and maintenance were usually an integrated part of decision making. This was one of the few questions in the survey where public and private perceptions diverged significantly.
  • 32% of public sector survey respondents said that forward planning for infrastructure maintenance and operations is incorporated as an integrated part of decision making
  • 18% of private sector respondents said that adequate provision is currently being made in their cities.

Global respondents tended to be more sanguine than US-based ones, with 34 percent of global leaders saying that long-term considerations are usually integrated, compared with 25 percent of all respondents. This may reflect the greater global prevalence of long-term public/ private partnerships and the use of whole life cycle costing in many global markets.

When infrastructure is not operated and maintained properly, efficiency deteriorates, safety can be challenged, and other problems result. High-quality standards during construction can mitigate long-term resource needs, but only to a point.

Although changes to public funding strategies aimed at resolving the maintenance issue have been slow to emerge, the prospect of an impending problem is serving as a further catalyst for the trend toward more densely populated metropolitan areas.

Another, more controversial approach is simply to cut loose areas that can’t be cost-effectively maintained. But this has obvious drawbacks.

EY – Long-term operations and maintenance (O&M)