Classes of Factors to be Considered in Infrastructure Investment Prioritization


By Bob Prieto

Princeton, NJ, USA

The prioritization of infrastructure investment must be focused on achieving the strategic objectives of the implementing agency or governmental unit while recognizing the broad role that infrastructure plays in serving society and supporting adjacent regional and national networks. Clear, robust objectives must be established; continuously articulated; alignment with affected stakeholders achieved; performance metrics established and continuously monitored and measured; and, corrective actions and portfolio adjustments made based on performance and changed futures. Many of these performance metrics will be associated with the factors to be considered in initial prioritization.

The strategic objectives established for our infrastructure systems must as a minimum address the following objectives:

  • Economic – encompassing societal, agency (or governmental unit), and project considerations
    • Societal related economic considerations can include job creation; infrastructure efficiency; new opportunities created; level of quality of the system; contribution to directional desired change
    • Project level considerations focus more on the capital efficiency of the developed assets
  • Social – including stakeholder related concerns and desires; contextual and cultural appropriateness; compatibility with community goals and other social objectives. It is important to recognize that stakeholders may include non-local interests such as seen from national level NGO’s, trade unions and business interests.
  • Environmental – including both the environmental impacts associated with facility construction and operation but also the effects of longer term environmental factors including global climate change on our infrastructure facilities, systems and structures. Health, safety and security considerations may be considered in this context as well.
  • Political – infrastructure is an important political and policy tool and outcome; equity (impact and benefit distribution)
  • Sustaining Capacity and Capability – ensuring that public and user safety are sustained at acceptable levels and that operational and performance requirements are met throughout the life cycle by maintaining our infrastructure assets in a state of good repair. Emerging considerations around resilience as reflected in achievement of defined recovery timeframes represent new considerations for sustaining the capability and capacity of many infrastructure assets.
  • Improving Outcomes – importantly, demonstrating continuous substantial improvement in life cycle cost to support capital efficiency and achievement of the broader set of objectives articulated; and addressing future resilience needs including those related to climate change and other man made and naturally occurring “events of scale”

The final developed set of objectives should be distilled to the smallest set of objectives considering common attributes. This becomes particularly relevant as we are prioritizing sustaining capital investments or selecting among fundamentally similar projects.


To read entire paper, with footnotes and references (click here)

About the Author

bob prietoBob Prietoflag-usa

Senior Vice President


Princeton, NJ, USA

Bob Prieto is a senior vice president of Fluor, one of the largest, publicly traded engineering and construction companies in the world. He focuses on the development and delivery of large, complex projects worldwide. Bob consults with owners of large engineering & construction capital construction programs across all market sectors in the development of programmatic delivery strategies encompassing planning, engineering, procurement, construction and financing. He is author of “Strategic Program Management”, “The Giga Factor: Program Management in the Engineering and Construction Industry” and “Application of Life Cycle Analysis in the Capital Assets Industry” published by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and “Topics in Strategic Program Management” as well as over 500 other papers and presentations.

Bob is a member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, National Academy of Construction and a Fellow of the Construction Management Association of America. Bob served until 2006 as one of three U.S. presidential appointees to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC), working with U.S. and Asia-Pacific business leaders to shape the framework for trade and economic growth and had previously served as both as Chairman of the Engineering and Construction Governors of the World Economic Forum and co-chair of the infrastructure task force formed after September 11th by the New York City Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he served as Chairman at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), one of the world’s leading engineering companies. Bob Prieto can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Bob Prieto, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/bob-prieto/