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The State of the Art and Practice of Life-Cycle EngineeringAn exclusive conversation with Dan M. Frangopol, distinguished member of ASCE

"Consider that in the USA we have more than 600.000 bridges that are deteriorating. From where did we start to solve the problem? We started from mapping, from the information about the condition and performance of structures. In USA we established an Infrastructure Report Card. Italy should do the same. Please visit the website From this we can monitor the situation not only of the bridges and roads, but of all the categories of American infrastructure, such as airports, rails, dams, inland waterways, and ports. This project started 20 years ago, a detailed report is published every 4 years. The last one was in 2017. Every type of infrastructure is graded. The 2017 grades range from a B for Rail to a D- for Transit, illustrating the clear impact of investment – or lack thereof – on the grades. The grade for bridges is C+. As reported, the most recent estimate puts the United States’ backlog of bridge rehabilitation at $123 billion. In addition, for every category of infrastructure it is possible to know the amount of money necessary to maintain it at a safe level and the amount of money available: there is a big difference between the availability and the needs of each infrastructure category to mantain a safe state".

Photo Gallery: the Prospective of Life-Cycle Engineering


"Let’s suppose that for a project we need 2 billion dollars, but only one billion is available: what will happen? It is possible to contact Members of Congress to pass legislation that moves toward closing the investment gap. If in 2017 the cost is 2 billion, surely doing nothing for four years in 2021 it will increase substantially, say to 3 billions. The Infrastructure Report Card is very useful for informing the politicians to take care of the civil infrastructure systems. Yes, I suggest to start from a similar report card, but this is only the beginning. The following step is to work on a 'risk- informed decision' approach: we have to know where to put our money, we have to make a clear decision because the money is limited and some bridges are riskier than others".

These are only a few excerpts from an exclusive conversation reported on the magazine leStrade, Casa Editrice La Fiaccola (October 2019 Issue) with Professor Dan M. Frangopol, Lehigh University Bethlehem, distingushed member of the American Society of Civil Engineers ( and founder of IABMAS (International Association for Bridge Maintenance and Safety) and IALCCE (International Association for Life-Cycle Civil Engineering).

IALCCE is an international association, founded by Professor Frangopol in 2006, dedicated to the life-cycle of civil infrastructure systems. Its first Symposium took place in 2008 in Italy under the auspices of Politecnico di Milano ( Frangopol is currently working with Professor Biondini, IALCCE Secretary General, on the next 2020 Symposium in Shanghai, China ( In 2022 the Symposium will come back to Italy.

Download the complete interview in Italian and English language