The pandemic's flow-on consequences brought to the fore the need for more resilient and future-proofed infrastructure, according to RMIT academics.
Dr Nader Naderpajouh from RMIT's School of Property, Construction and Project Management said that when it comes to metro and rail infrastructure, we also need to prepare for multi-hazard events, for example when the effects of the pandemic may compound with the consequences of other disasters such as physical or cyber failures.
"We need to ask ourselves whether our current infrastructure systems are resilient enough to cope with such events, and prepare accordingly," he said.
"In the past, the siloed nature of many organisations made it difficult for them to create a unified approach in the case of a multi-hazard event and its cascading impact.
"While asset managers plan investments to increase the resilience of a railway’s physical assets such as the tracks, the stations, and associated buildings, investments to increase the resilience of IT infrastructure takes place elsewhere in the organisation – and there can be minimal communication between them," Naderpajouh said.
"It can then be hard to develop an integrated approach to optimise resilience of the whole infrastructure system to respond to multi-hazard events.”
Naderpajouh is part of a team working on the European funded research project Safety4Rails, which aims to instigate a system-wide optimisation for asset management and resilience enhancement of railway infrastructure systems by integrating both physical and cyber systems within one asset management system.
"This process is not straightforward as the practices need to be translated across the two different domains: physical and cyber," he said.
"We're proposing an integrated approach to realise efficient resilience enhancement actions across the whole system."