16 Ways We Think Civil Engineering Will Change

Posted on Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 by
In Stormwater, Sustainability, Transportation Engineering, tagged in Tags:
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Since we opened our doors in 2001, many things have changed within our profession. Technology, a focus on sustainability, and increased pressure on funds have all been at the forefront. Lately, we’ve been thinking about what’s ahead for our business, so today, we’re sharing how we think civil engineering could change in the future.

  1. Linda: Over the years, there’s been a shift to make designs more sustainable. I think these expectations will continue to increase.
  2. Troy D.: I see less need for engineers, designers, support staff, etc., as artificial intelligence becomes more mainstream. The medical fields have already embraced this as an efficient tool.
  3. Tony: There will be an increased implementation of existing and emerging technology. We will also leverage an ever-expanding amount of information to consider what is growing and changing.
  4. Jason F.: I believe as time goes by it will be more about knowing how to run a program than actually knowing how to design a project.
  5. Brad: There will be a continued increase on our reliance on technology design tools. They are becoming more complex and better able to automate functions. The benefits allow for more efficient analysis and make it easier to tackle complex problems. One of the challenges with this growth is a greater disconnect between common sense solutions and allowing the technology to make the decisions.
  6. Linda: I think there will be an emphasis on not overbuilding and instead, right-sizing projects. Currently, when growth is projected, we are discovering it doesn’t always happen as expected due to the economy, shifting priorities, or the numbers may just be off. Building infrastructure in increments will be the strategy of the future, as it ensures you’re not spending money on things that won’t be used or aren’t needed.
  7. Troy D.: Metro areas will see a significant drop in automobile ownership, as people utilize more public transit systems whether that be leased autonomous vehicles, street cars, buses, etc. More and more people will live in sustainable communities that allow them to work, shop, and live within a smaller radius. Transportation infrastructure will not have the needs for bigger highways, as capacities will increase through technology advancements.
  8. Linda: Self-driving cars will be the way of the future
  9. Brad: When it comes to data collection and management, there will be an exponential increase in our ability to collect, store, and analyze data. The tools exist to collect a huge amount of data, and those who manage infrastructure are learning to use this data to identify, prioritize, and track infrastructure improvements. This technology allows for more informed decisions on where to spend limited infrastructure management dollars.
  10. Tony: Civil engineering is and will become even more involved with people and their environment.
  11. Levi: With the industry pushing towards renewable energy, I could see more jobs and various forms of civil engineering involvement in building out our new system.
  12. Linda: I think we will be designing and developing roadways/transportation that make money. Whether it’s adding solar panels, wifi connections, or electronic charging capabilities built into the roadways, travelers may someday pay to use these resources.
  13. Troy D.: Construction on projects will change as contractors adopt smart equipment, eliminating the need for equipment operators.
  14. Tony: Smarter modes of transportation, like driverless vehicles, will require more smart systems along the paths they travel.
  15. Brad: To stretch limited dollars, there will be opportunities for private entrepreneurs to become more invested in public infrastructure.
  16. Levi: As weather/climate continues to change, the hydrology and hydraulics of civil engineering will have to evolve as well. Autonomous cars will also impact this. Given these two factors, any infrastructure designs, such as our roadways, signals, pavement markings, and even building materials, will need to shift, as well as the analysis/design of storm networks.
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