This morning I attended a session entitled "What's It Worth to You? Incorporating Tranportation Asset Value." The session addressed the methods for determining, monitoring, and updating the value of transportation assets to support ongoing reporting and investment planning. It's a topic I find inherently interesting because I think we don't spend enough time asking ourselves to describe the value of our complex and extensive transportation systems--whether from the perspective of the replacement value for existing physical infrastructure, or from the viewpoint of the role such infrastructure supports the basic functioning of society and the economy.
What I wasn't expecting was a connection between the sometimes "dry" worlds of accounting and asset management, and the more humanistic perspective of intergenerational equity. However, in her update on TRB's Value of Transportation Infrastructure Task Force*, Shobna Varma discussed how asset valuation can actually be an avenue towards considering the intergenerational equity implictions of failing to maintain our infrastructure--i.e. passing on aditional costs and burdens to the next generation. So: that's my new idea for today.
*Which, incidentally, our very own Paul Bingham co-chairs.