Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Boston Globe Letter to the Editor

My Letter to the Editor, provoked by the front page article in last Sunday's Boston Globe on the closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge and the social and economic ramifications, is now online. I blogged about this article last week and also brought it to my transportation and logistics class last Monday to share with my students. Winter is approaching and when the lake is covered with ice, the ferries will not be able to provide an alternative mode of transportation. The closure of this bridge has added as much as three hours to citizens' commutes and played havoc on businesses and workers' and their families' schedules and routines.

My letter argues for appropriate education in infrastructure planning and management as well as teaching about the optimization of resources, including funds to improve our country's infrastructure. The letter also argues for the need for leadership to identify which links and nodes should be repaired and better maintained before our infrastructure deteriorates even further.

As I say in the letter: Before it is too late, the decision makers need to identify how to best maintain the critical and way-too-fragile networks upon which our society and economy depend.

We have the tools but, sadly, we lack the leadership.

Indeed, Patrick Qiang and I in our Fragile Networks book provide a wealth of methodological tools to help in the identification of the importance and ranking of bridges and roads. It is high time that our country appropriately invests (and repairs) our infrastructure!