Utilities provide basic needs that significantly improve a community’s quality of life, spurring social and economic growth. Improper planning and maintenance of utilities, however, can limit the economic viability of an area. Utilities and infrastructure planning and maintenance involve a large number of agencies and stakeholders. Inter-agency coordination, especially when it comes to street works, is critical. Common issues include high costs and lack of cost certainty, complex regulatory processes, lack of coordination, the state of existing utility plans, and spatial impacts.
Integrated planning is also critical; the opportunities and vision for landscaping and green infrastructure must be coordinated with the planning of utilities and street infrastructure.
The need for comprehensive planning is exemplified in green infrastructure, an increasingly common approach to managing stormwater and natural resources to foster healthier environments. Effective technologies and lighting can help improve the usage and perception of streets, mitigating user conflicts and providing a sense of safety. These technologies are adopted to aid in security and surveillance, and to enhance the user experience through navigation systems, information distribution, and user activated signals.