Systems-of-Systems Methodology for Strategic Infrastructure Decision Making: Ireland as a Case Study

Document Type



Structural Engineering

Publication Details

Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems

© 2017 Informa UK Limited


Infrastructure development is a long term process, which cannot easily adapt to sudden change; and infrastructure assets can have long lifetimes. Poor investment choices risk locking in poor policy choices for substantial periods of time. The ‘need’ for a new infrastructure asset arises due to demographic, economic or policy changes. But historically Ireland’s infrastructure investment has also been driven, in part, by the pursuit of political / economic policies which have themselves ‘created’ infrastructure needs; and often decided on an isolated project-by-project basis. In contrast, a systems-of-systems (SoS) approach is a fusion of network modelling, consideration of various policy options, and appraisal of the impact of alternative demographic and economic scenarios on multiple systems. This paper assesses Ireland’s readiness to adopt a SoS approach to infrastructure decision-making, proposes a methodology for its development and implementation. This would enable the demand for new infrastructure to be tested under various policy scenarios, providing evidence for investment decisions.

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