Infrastructure. If you’re not an engineer, a deep dive into the topic of infrastructure may have you building an excuse to change the subject. Hear us out, though.
Right here in this article, we are going to give YOU a chance to be heard about your infrastructure concerns. You can also share your ideas for solutions to some of the biggest issues in the Houston area.
You can skip to that section below, if you’re already ready to send us something that’s been on your mind (or if you are in fact an engineer).
For the rest of us, let’s start here.
Infrastructure defined (literally)
Merriam Webster defines infrastructure as:
- The system of public works of a country, state, or region
- The resources (such as personnel, buildings, or equipment) required for an activity
- The underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization)
How about some examples?
While trying to build the infrastructure for an article on infrastructure, we discovered Indeed.com had put together a helpful list.
There are many types of infrastructure, but the career website identified nine key ones that impact all of us:
1.) Roadways - This is what many people think of first when they hear the word infrastructure. It’s not just expansion or repairs of highways and streets. Roadway infrastructure includes traffic lights, signage, tolls, bridges, tunnels, and buses.
2.) Aviation - This relates to everything tied to air travel. Effective infrastructure in aviation is needed for safety and efficiency.
3.) Telecommunications - Like having the world at your fingertips? Telecommunications infrastructure is what keeps our phones and internet working. This involves mobile network towers, satellite, and telephone wires and cables.
4.) Bridges - Safe, functioning bridges improve transit across the country. The Fred Hartman bridge is a cable bridge over the Houston Ship Channel.
5.) Power and energy - There’s a lot to unpack in this category, but to keep it simple, we’ll note traditional energy infrastructure includes coal, gas, and nuclear plants. Newer and renewable energy infrastructures support solar, wind, and geothermal power.
6.) Railways - Tracks and all the buildings and equipment that help trains keep chugging along make up railway infrastructure. A lot is needed to keep both passenger trains and freight trains moving.
7.) Water - Infrastructure related to water doesn’t get much coverage until something goes wrong. That makes sense, because when clean water isn’t available, it impacts homes, schools, and businesses. Water infrastructure includes main water lines, pumping stations, treatment plants, stormwater drains, levees, and dams. KPRC 2 Investigates has covered infrastructure concerns related to Houston Public Works and water meters. You can find our DRAINED series here.
8.) Waste management - Getting trash and recycling materials to the proper places and maintaining those facilities is one type of waste management infrastructure. Wastewater collection systems that keep harmful substances out of rivers, lakes, and oceans is another.
9.) Recreational facilities - This may not be the most obvious one on the list, but even the construction and maintenance of parks, playgrounds, and public beaches involves infrastructure. Everything from historical sites to public bathrooms falls into this category.
Time to weigh in
Now that we’re all thinking beyond the seemingly endless road construction and traffic jams, we want to hear from YOU. What infrastructure issues in Houston and Southeast Texas concern you most? What ideas do you have to fix infrastructure problems? Have you seen any groups making positive progress toward solutions?
KPRC 2 and our parent company Graham Media Group are working to cover not just the problems in our communities, but also the solutions, through Solutionaries.
That’s why we want to hear from you. Weigh in below. We’ll review every submission. Your idea may be included in the next Solutionaries story and be part of making our community a better place to live.
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