IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2019 - 16

Figure 2. The network visualization in NISMOD [24].

metrics, e.g., bandwidth and latency for digital communications networks. For transport networks, journey
time is of the utmost significance, alongside the reliability of trip times. Safety and comfort are other qualityrelated factors for passengers.
2) Affordability: Infrastructure services are funded through
a variety of user charges as well as general taxation.
Because infrastructure is highly capital intensive, there
are always delicate judgments to be made about how the
burden of capital expenditure is supported over the life
of the assets as well as financing an appropriate level of
maintenance expenditure to maximize the assets' benefits. There are particular questions of affordability for the
least well-off households that struggle to afford tariffs
for basic infrastructure services like energy and water.
3) Environmental and social externalities: The ways in
which infrastructure impacts, and helps to protect, the
environment have already been mentioned. The benefits
are seldom achieved without costs. European water utilities have invested extensively in wastewater treatment
to achieve the improvements in river and bathing water
quality that have been observed in the European Union
in recent decades. While renewable energy offers pollution-free supplies, often with practically zero marginal
cost, the capital costs of new supply facilities and necessary adjustments to transmission and distribution infrastructure (including the introduction of storage) can be
high. Mitigating the effects of transport infrastructure
16

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE Ju ly 2019

on environmentally significant habitats (e.g. by tunneling) can add significantly to the cost of projects, as can
the need to mitigate or compensate for the effects on
local communities.
Infrastructure decision making involves navigating
these tradeoffs on a range of spatial and temporal scales-
for example, where to route a new transport link or whether to mandate a universal service obligation for broadband
connectivity. It is not the role of an analyst to prescribe
where decision makers should position themselves with
respect to these tradeoffs. Modeling with a tool like NISMOD enables the tradeoffs to be exposed and quantified
so that decision makers understand the implications of
their choices. Simulation modeling also enables the exploration of sensitivity to future uncertainties, such as population growth and economic change. By exposing these
uncertainties, it may be possible to identify strategies that
perform acceptably well over a wide range of possible
futures and are, thus, robust to changeableness.
NISMOD was developed for the United Kingdom, where
it provided evidence for the country's first National Infrastructure Assessment [23]. This analysis offered scenarios
of possible changing needs for infrastructure services and
compared supply- and demand-side options for addressing
those needs, with a particular focus on the water sector [25].
NISMOD is now receiving increasing attention internationally. A recent study in the Caribbean island state of CuraƧao
demonstrated how infrastructure system-of-systems



IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2019

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