Open main menu
Infrastructure Portal
Water tower.png

Welcome to Wikipedia's infrastructure portal, your gateway to the subject of infrastructure
and its monumental importance for everyday society and the economy.


Infrastructure is the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy to function. Infrastructure is composed of public and private physical improvements such as roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, and telecommunications (including Internet connectivity and broadband speeds). In general, it has also been defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions". There are two general types of ways to view infrastructure, hard or soft. Hard infrastructure refers to the physical networks necessary for the functioning of a modern industry. This includes roads, bridges, railways, etc. Soft infrastructure refers to all the institutions that maintain the economic, health, social, and cultural standards of a country. This includes educational programs, official statistics, parks and recreational facilities, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.

The word infrastructure has been used in French since 1875 and in English since 1887, originally meaning "The installations that form the basis for any operation or system". The word was imported from French, where it was already used for establishing a roadbed of substrate material, required before railroad tracks or constructed pavement could be laid on top of it. The word is a combination of the Latin prefix "infra", meaning "below" as many of these constructions are underground, for example, tunnels, water and gas systems, and railways and the French word "structure" (derived from the Latin word "structura"). The army use of the term achieved currency in the United States after the formation of NATO in the 1940s, and by 1970 was adopted by urban planners in its modern civilian sense.

Selected article

Automatic speed surveillance and enforcement equipment in Brazil

The term Intelligent Transport System (ITS) refers to information and communication technology (applied to transport [infrastructure]] and vehicles) that improve transport outcomes such as transport safety, transport productivity, travel reliability, informed travel choices, social equity, environmental performance and network operation resilience.

Interest in ITS comes from the problems caused by traffic congestion and a synergy of new information technology for simulation, real-time control, and communications networks. Traffic congestion has been increasing worldwide as a result of increased motorization, urbanization, population growth, and changes in population density. Congestion reduces efficiency of transportation infrastructure and increases travel time, air pollution, and fuel consumption.

Intelligent transport systems vary in technologies applied, from basic management systems such as car navigation; traffic signal control systems; container management systems; variable message signs; automatic number plate recognition or speed cameras to monitor applications, such as security CCTV systems; and to more advanced applications that integrate live data and feedback from a number of other sources, such as parking guidance and information systems; weather information; bridge deicing systems; and the like. Additionally, predictive techniques are being developed to allow advanced modeling and comparison with historical baseline data. Some of the constituent technologies typically implemented in ITS include: wireless communications; computation technologies (i.e., microprocessors, hardware, artificial intelligence); floating car/cellular data (i.e., triangulation, GPS methods); sensing technologies of road signs, buildings, construction zones for safety; inductive loop detection in roadbed for car count and speed; and video vehicle detection for traffic flow information and automatic accident detection.


Selected images


Graphical phases in the life cycle of a facility
Public Vs. Private Provision
Infrastructure Systems
Cash Flow

Selected biography

Hideo Shima (島 秀雄, Shima Hideo, 20 May 1901 – 18 March 1998) was a Japanese engineer and the driving force behind the building of the first bullet train (Shinkansen). Born in Osaka, Shima eventually studied engineering at the Tokyo Imperial University. Hideo Shima joined the Ministry of Railways (Japanese Government Railways) in 1925, where, as a rolling stock engineer, he designed steam locomotives. Using new techniques to balance the driving wheels and new valve gear designs, he helped design Japan's first 3-cylinder locomotive - the Class C53, which was based on the Class C52 imported from USA.

One of the original 0 series shinkansen trains

As Shima's career progressed, he became the head of the national railway's rolling stock department in 1948. But, after the establishment of Japanese National Railways in 1949, a train fire at a station in Yokohama that killed more than 100 people in 1951 led him to resign in the Japanese tradition of taking responsibility. He worked briefly for Sumitomo Metal Industries, but was asked by Shinji Sogō, the president of JNR, to come back and oversee the building of the first Shinkansen line, in 1955.

In addition to its innovative propulsion system, the Shinkansen also introduced features like air suspension and air-conditioning. Shima's team designed the sleek cone-shaped front from which the bullet train got its name.[1] The cost of the first Shinkansen line also cost Shima his job. The building of the first line, which needed 3,000 bridges and 67 tunnels to allow a clear and largely straight path, led to such huge cost overruns that he resigned in 1963, along with the president, Shinji Sogō, who had backed Shima's ideas. Read more...


Innovative Methods


Related portals

Did you know

Project Delivery Methods

Economic Analysis


Critical infrastructureBridgeBroadbandBrownfieldsDamsEmergency serviceFloodgateHazardous wasteHospitalIncinerationLandfillLeveeParkPublic healthPublic housingPublic utilityPublic schoolPortRecyclingSolid wasteTelecommunicationsTunnelWaste management

Electrical InfrastructureAlternating currentBatteryDirect currentDemand responseDeregulationDistributionElectrical gridGenerationIndependent Power ProducerLoad managementNatural monopolyPower outagePower plantRegional transmission organizationSmart gridSubstationTransformerTransmission system operatorTransmission

Energy infrastructureBiofuelCarbon footprintCoal productionEnergy efficiencyEnergy lawEthanol fuelFossil fuelHydropowerKyoto ProtocolNuclear powerOil refineryPhotovoltaicsPollutionRenewable energyStorageWind power

Transportation infrastructureAviationAirlineAirportBargeBusCargoCommuter railControlled-access highwayFerryFreightHighwayInter-city railIntermodal freight transportJust-in-time (business)Limited-access roadLock (water navigation)LogisticsPublic transportRail transportRapid transitRight-of-wayShippingSupply chainTransport

Water infrastructureCombined sewerDiffuserDrinking waterGroundwaterMacerationPipeReverse osmosisSeptic tankSewageSewage treatmentSewage collection and disposalSewer overflowSewage pumpingStormwaterSurface waterSurface runoffWastewaterWater pollutionWater supplyWater treatmentWater tower

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources