Toward Life Cycle Sustainability in Infrastructure: The Role of Automation and Robotics in PPP Projects

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Journal Article

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Madeleine Hoeft
Marianne Pieper
Kent Eriksson
Hans-Joachim Bargstädt

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This article identifies how project life cycle characteristics and automation and robotic technologies influence the sustainability of public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects. The result of the article is a model of how public and private collaborations can leverage technology and project organization to make infrastructure more sustainable. Based on a comprehensive literature review, the model subdivides sustainability into engineering, project management, environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Engineering sustainability concerns the applicability of technologies to infrastructure PPP sustainability. The project management sustainability is decisive for ultimately creating environmental, social and economic sustainability within and beyond infrastructure PPP projects. The model identifies that the procurement phase is of particular importance for sustainable infrastructure PPPs. Successful sustainable infrastructure procurement likely includes such factors as increased transparency, participation, and stable, capable project alliances with a shared vision and clear goals. The model also identifies that, throughout the whole project life cycle, actions in the form of collaboration, experimentation and platformization promote sustainability. The findings in this article add to the understanding of how transformation toward increased sustainability can be achieved by individual organizations, their network, and ecosystems of public, private and civic actors.