Infrastructure refers to the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy to function. Infrastructure is composed of public and private physical improvements such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, and telecommunications (including Internet connectivity and broadband speeds). In general, it has also been defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions".
There are two general types of ways to view infrastructure, hard or soft. Hard infrastructure refers to the physical networks necessary for the functioning of a modern industry. This includes roads, bridges, railways, etc. Soft infrastructure refers to all the institutions that maintain the economic, health, social, and cultural standards of a country. This includes educational programs, official statistics, parks and recreational facilities, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.
The word infrastructure has been used in English since 1887 and in French since 1875, originally meaning "The installations that form the basis for any operation or system". The word was imported from French, where it means subgrade, the native material underneath a constructed pavement or railway. The word is a combination of the Latin prefix "infra", meaning "below" and many of these constructions are underground, for example, tunnels, water and gas systems, and railways. The army use of the term achieved currency in the United States after the formation of NATO in the 1940s, and by 1970 was adopted by urban planners in its modern civilian sense.
Bus services play a major role in the provision of public transport. These services can take many forms, varying in distance covered and types of vehicle used, and can operate with fixed or flexible routes and schedules. Services may be operated by public or private companies, and be provided using bus fleets of various sizes.
The names of different types of bus services vary around the world according to local tradition or marketing, although services can be classified into basic types based on route length, frequency, purpose of use and type of bus used.
- Urban or suburban services is the most common type of public transport bus service, and is used to transport large numbers of people in urban areas, or to and from the suburbs to population centres. These services are often organised on a network basis centred on an urban centre of a town, or across a city, and may involve universal liveries, or specific route branded buses. The predominant bus type used on these services is the transit bus, also referred to in this context as a commuter bus or citybus. Longer distance services may utilise dual purpose buses or even minimally appointed coaches. These services generally complement tram, rapid transit or urban rail systems, and will often be integrated with these modes in transport interchanges, as well as making heavy use of on street bus stops and bus stations. Night bus services are often implemented in urban areas, for operation generally after the last evening service, and before the first early morning service, to serve the nighttime economy. A night bus network will generally employ a more basic route network, and less frequent bus services. The busiest areas may not have a night bus network, in favour of 24-hour bus route, or 24 hour routes may operate as well as specific night bus services.
- Express bus services are services that are intended to run faster than normal bus services, by either operating as a "limited stop" service missing out less busy stops, and/or travelling on faster roads such as freeways rather than slower moving local roads. These services can be complementary in length to normal city bus routes, and as such may use the same city buses but with a different route number. They can also be longer interurban services (see interurban bus service).
- Park and ride bus services are designed to provide an onward passenger journey from a parking lot. These may be branded as shuttle or express services, or part of the standard bus network.
- Feeder bus services are designed to pick up passengers in a certain locality, and take them to a transfer point where they make an onward journey on a trunk service. This can be another bus, or a rail based service such as a tram, rapid transit or train. Feeder buses may act as part of a wider local network, or a regional coach network.
- Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is the application of a range of infrastructure and marketing measures to produce public transport bus services that approach the operating characteristics and capacity of rapid transit systems.
Graphical phases in the life cycle of a facility
Public Vs. Private Provision
Hideo Shima (島 秀雄 Shima Hideo, 20 May 1901 – 18 March 1998) was a Japanese engineer and the driving force behind the building of the first bullet train (Shinkansen). Born in Osaka, Shima eventually studied engineering at the Tokyo Imperial University. Hideo Shima joined the Ministry of Railways (Japanese Government Railways) in 1925, where, as a rolling stock engineer, he designed steam locomotives. Using new techniques to balance the driving wheels and new valve gear designs, he helped design Japan's first 3-cylinder locomotive - the Class C53, which was based on the Class C52 imported from USA.
As Shima's career progressed, he became the head of the national railway's rolling stock department in 1948. But, after the establishment of Japanese National Railways in 1949, a train fire at a station in Yokohama that killed more than 100 people in 1951 led him to resign in the Japanese tradition of taking responsibility. He worked briefly for Sumitomo Metal Industries, but was asked by Shinji Sogō, the president of JNR, to come back and oversee the building of the first Shinkansen line, in 1955.
In addition to its innovative propulsion system, the Shinkansen also introduced features like air suspension and air-conditioning. Shima's team designed the sleek cone-shaped front from which the bullet train got its name. The cost of the first Shinkansen line also cost Shima his job. The building of the first line, which needed 3,000 bridges and 67 tunnels to allow a clear and largely straight path, led to such huge cost overruns that he resigned in 1963, along with the president, Shinji Sogō, who had backed Shima's ideas. Read more...