Culture & Engineering

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Reflecting Culture and Engineering



Ananda D. Moonasingha

B.Sc. (Hons), BA (Hons), M.Eng., M.Sc.(Eng).


            Technology evolves in cultures of creative innovation. The salient constituents of technological cultures are: indigenous knowledge, education and training, research and development, creativity, finance, enterprise, production, consumption and regulation. Technology can be indigenous or transferred. This paper outlines the paths and landmarks of socio-technology and institutional drivers of innovative civil engineering. An overview of the change of direction of car culture is presented as a vision for change of culture for urban traffic management. The germane ideologies and studies are cited and complemented by the survey of literature.



            Civil engineering is a product and embodiment of a cultural milieu of vision, creativity, wherewithal, organisation and teamwork – creativity and innovation. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines civilize as to instruct in the arts of life, to enlighten and refine; and civilization as a developed or advanced state of human society. The term infrastructure symbolises the word civilize in the sense of amenities. Infrastructures comprise amenities, such as buildings, roads, bridges, water supply, sewers, canals, railways, dams, docks and harbours – the built environment and its interaction with natural environment. The civil engineering works of ancient civilizations are an awe inspiring testimony of human creativity based on amazing technological skills – without scientific knowledge. Some aspects of modern civil engineering though complex, are not an exact science. Besides, civil engineering is also an art.


The crucial link between technology and culture is technology shapes and is shaped by the culture of society. A universal example is information technology (IT) which has swept across the globe by the turn of the last century, and has advanced creativity and performance in engineering.




2.1 Definitions and Semantics

            The dictionary (OED) defines meaning of culture as: civilization, customs, and artistic achievements of people; cultivation, development or improvement by training and education; refinement of the mind and faculties.1 Culture as inscribed in the ancient Greek word kultura implies: progressive survival in the changing environment by harmonious interaction with nature (Vansteenkiste).2 Culture reflects the shared practices and collective behaviour of a society or an organisation. Besides high culture and popular culture, there are many connotations of culture such as – mass culture of mass production and consumption, organisational culture, corporate culture, and car culture.

            In the context of social science, culture is production and creation of meaning. Meaning is fluid, and involves encoding, decoding through a form of language and interpretation.3 Language can be any form of sign, written or spoken words. Meaning making lies at the interface between culture and technology.4

            Global society has now witnessed almost a century of evolution in the domains of production, business administration, human resources and industrial psychology, since publication of the Taylor’s scientific management.5 Customer focus and improved performance are some modern buzzwords. The norms of management policy, communication and relations in an organisation that set the pattern of employee behaviour, morale, motivation and performance are collectively known as the organisational culture.

            In the above context Corporate Culture inspires employees to achieve the corporate aims by internalisation of values and means to achieve standards, aims, meaning of employment and such like. In other words, empowerment of corporate values to gain worker commitment as a liberated, informal cultural practice.6 ’Enterprise culture’ in contrast is a competitive, potentially hostile environment, where employees must constantly aim to meet standards and equal or excel the competitors.6


2.2 Culture and Technology

            There are two ideologies that contend to expound the relationship between technology and culture. These are technological determinism and social construction.

            Technological determinism claims that the nature of culture is determined and dependent on the prevailing technologies, and technology is a cause of social and cultural changes.7 As expounded by Bimber and others determinism defuses into soft and hard (P2 - Smith).8 The hard posits technology as an autonomous force that produces a specific state of outcomes regardless of the status quo and the people’s response. The soft ascribes relevance to social and political pressures for technological determinism.

            Social construction proclaims that culture and society shape the technology. Social constructivists point out that social or interest groups define and give meaning to artefacts – they select designs that fulfil their desires and fit for their survival (p103 - Hughes).8 Social construction suggests cultural forces consisting of cultural, economic, political heterogeneous networks involving the actors of architects, planners, engineers, economists, consumers, regulators, politicians and interest groups determine technical change. ‘Neither the purely social nor the exclusively technical is determinant’ (p290 - Law & Bijker).9

            Hence more harmonious view is that society and technology interact and both shape and are shaped by each other. Hughes presents this concept as technological momentum – social development shapes and is shaped by technology (p 102 Hughes).8 Technology shapes society by shaping the way people use and appropriate technology at home, in the office or factory, and in other aspects of daily life, as in media, communication and transport.

            The consumers give meaning to artefacts by appropriation and commodification. Appropriation means a creative  process of consumption where the consumers have to plan or design, actively engage, criticise or appreciate, challenge or enjoy to make the artefact, goods or services to achieve a new meaning of consumption.4,7 The dictionary defines Commodification as, treating as a commodity, commercialisation of an activity etc.1 Commodification involves an interaction between consumers and producers where producers make new products or different versions of old products as a result of consumers’ activities in an ongoing cycle.4,7 As depicted in the Fig. 1, the above account portrays the relationship between culture, technology, creativity and innovation.


2.3 Cultural Awareness

            Cultural awareness is important for the selection of technology appropriate for a given situation. Choice of technology is inherently dependent on the economic feasibility. Besides, cultural awareness is a basic necessity for effective communication and negotiation in consultation processes with the communities, and for harmonious project execution.2 By and large significant urban developments aim towards conventional technologies. Appropriate technology for sanitation and water supply consists of basic provisions and innovations affordable to low-income communities such as slum improvement projects; nevertheless can be extensive in some cities. The more challenging cultural impacts emanate from the proposal to change or shape communities to appropriate emerging technologies that would sustain a quality environment and lifestyle. A potent extension of the above is awareness of organisation cultures by employees, and technological cultures by the users for improved performance. For example, domestic waste management like recycling and composting; safe walking and good driving habits. In the sphere of architecture cultural awareness avails a greater scope of creativity and aesthetic grandeur. Environmentally efficient architecture is a symbol of an advanced culture.

            Most societies have inherited historical epoch of cultural prosperity demonstrated by grandiose civilisations. Present architecture is influenced by these cultural legacies and indeed the global trends of developed economies. Embellishing modern construction with irrelevant ornaments is seen as sentimental. Culture evolves, hence the concepts such as romantism, modernism and post-modernism. The onus in civil engineering is fulfilment of functionality in an optimum way with due regard for concepts of sustainability, elegance, aesthetics and cultural legacy.10



3.1 Definitions and Semantics

            The Oxford English Dictionary defines innovation as the introduction of novelties; the alteration of what is established by the introduction of new elements or forms; something newly introduced; a novel practice method etc.1

The most practical and opportune tier of innovation comprises incremental improvements.11,12 Innovation tends to alter the status quo. Adding or creating value is an intrinsic element in innovation without which the idea is implausible. Incremental innovation embodies:

            (a) realising and implementing improvements

            (b) problem solving by critical examination of relevant facts and conditions

            (c) implementing value adding ideas by synthesis, altering or appropriating     existing ideas and knowledge

            (d) bringing dormant values into practice

             The dictionary defines creative as: inventive, exhibiting imagination as well as intellectual and producing.1 In civil engineering creativity is generally expressed in terms of concepts, form and aesthetics. The construction of a facility constitutes a creation. Creative also means artistic and in civil engineering the skills of drawing, graphics, documentation and presentation including IT skills.


3.2 Creativity in Practise

             Creativity is an essential trait among civil engineers, as an instrument of planning, design and construction. Configuration of a civil engineering scheme or a structure to fulfil the functional objectives demands creativity. This is more often than not backed up by mathematical calculations, design concepts and standards. This talent of creativity is cultivated and developed by a process of theoretical learning in a college or university, followed by professional training, where a trainee learns the art and practise of engineering. People acquire the rudiments of creativity from  childhood by embracing cultural practices and interaction with the environment, architecture and technology as appropriated in many facets of life. ‘Innovation requires a background of knowledge and skills for its successful implementation’ (p 13 - Gospel & Okayama).13 ‘However, there is no simple relationship between training and innovation or performance’ (p 30 - Gospel & Okayama).13

            Young people tend to have more creative ideas, enthusiasm and passion for creativity and innovation than mature engineers. Maturity imposes self-regulation and pensive cogitation. Both the views that creativity is impeded by bureaucracy; and that a free rein for creativity among engineers is a recipe for chaos, are plausible. The conception of an innovation is a creative idea. The idea has to be given adequate consideration to verify its fundamental credibility, empirical or theoretical, practicality and not least the comparative soundness over the alternative concepts or techniques. The adapted foresight triangle depicted in Fig. 2 describes the sources of creative design and innovation processes.14

            Creative innovation thrives in an enthusiastic, collaborative community. Socio-economic and environmental demands stimulate innovation and creativity, not just in scientific engineering, but also in strategic planning, financing and management. Innovation and creativity can manifest in high tech, low-cost, major projects, minor improvements, non-asset schemes, and fast-track or controlled phased programmes. Innovation is spearheaded from two prime sources. These are  industrial enterprises, and institutions such as financial and business enterprises, universities, research centres and public authorities. The two streams have many links along the supply chain.

            An example of institutional innovation is the launching of the ‘Rethinking Construction’ drive by the UK government Task force in 1998. It advocates  partnering, quality rather than lowest cost, considering whole-life costs rather than the cheapest initial costs, and sustainability of the urban environment. Other drivers ensued in pursuit of the object of improving the efficiency of construction in UK. The Movement for Innovation (M4I) initiative promotes innovative projects that can demonstrate efficient accomplishment of construction projects. The Local Government Task Force (LGTF) was launched in March 2000 to encourage local authorities to adopt the principles of ‘Rethinking Construction’. These principles synchronise with the local authority mandate for ‘best value’ driver for performance improvement (Backhouse).15



            The work of civil engineering is a product of team effort. Basically, a team is a group of individuals working collectively or individually towards a common output and goal. An essential characteristic of teamwork is sharing information and acting in coordination. A team has a team leader. The team is collectively responsible for the teamwork and individually responsible on their part. Albeit, the team leader carries overall responsibility and is accountable for the teamwork. 

             A team can be any size, shape and composition. It can be transient, closely knit or dispersed, fragmented, changing in composition or made up of different parties, disciplines or organisations and constituted for long-term operation.

            The success of teamwork rests on qualities like mutual respect, trust, honesty, confidence, understanding, motivation and commitment. Playing one’s own role for best of outcomes in a given environment is an important trait.  Teamwork entails members playing different roles with different skills, different levels of education, training, qualifications and experience. Though the mandate of a team is the satisfactory accomplishment of the assigned task or job, there are other intrinsic and implicit objectives and responsibilities in teamwork. These include, training for personal and professional development of individuals, and safety and health issues. The merit of efficient teamwork is synergy. This is achieved by capitalising upon the full potential of members working together. 16 Perception and understanding of the big picture, aims and goals of the end is conducive to self-motivation and better contribution to teamwork.

             Projects in general need people of different levels of experience, decision making skills and occasionally people with multiple skills. Flexibility, ability to coordinate with others, and aptitude for dealing with complexity are valued traits. Team takes its moral guidance from the organisational culture or the environment. However, individual values and qualities such as self-motivation, creativity and commitment can be complemented, enhanced, inhibited or challenged by the organisational culture. Despite the heterogeneous composition of teams, it is a pragmatic necessity that team members try and adapt to efficient interaction and team performance. Figure 3 depicts the conflict management style of individuals in teamwork.17 There is plenty of guidance on how to and how not to develop a team.16,17

              Maslow’s theory of needs, McGregor’s theory of X and Y or the carrot and stick and the Herzberg’s theory of hygiene factors are well documented theories of motivation at work.18,19,20 It is debatable how much of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is applicable to the motivation of civil engineers. Albeit, the Maslow’s exposition of motivation is more favourable than the hostile theory of carrot and stick. The Herzberg’s theory of hygiene factors is an inevitable milieu at work.

              Skills are dexterity of handling things and people.21 Skills mix is an innate necessity, especially in complex or large missions. Skills mix can spread across vertically, horizontally integrated organisations. The emphasis on the importance of effective communication is widely found. In important communications, the understanding of the content and confirmation is vital. Some jobs especially in community environments need good communication skills complemented by sagacious social skills.21,22 Artful negotiation skills are necessary when dealing with empowered communities.2 However, pathological excess of communication is counterproductive. Communications can be top-down, bottom-up or across different lines of management.

               In developing countries engineers dealing with local infrastructure in the one hand need the flexibility in reconciling particularism against universalism to optimise the outcomes in relation to local variables contained in the process.2 On the other hand logical and purposive control from above or the central authority supplements spontaneous and co-operative control from the local community.21 Engineers are taught to appropriate the scientific method dealing with engineering problems (p 79 -  Guagnini).13 In slum improvement projects diverse rudimentary skills of local communities are utilised with the support of the government and local authority technical staff (Sohail & Baldwin).23 Fig. 4 depicts an improved slum housing project.

               Various organisations recruit and train staff appropriate for their environments – the internal market. Trained people interchange with other organisations and internationally – the external market (p 13 - Gospel & Okayama).13 Globalisation in this respect is enriching the pool of human resources. ‘Organisational capability facilitates training and human resource development, which in turn fosters the organisational capability (p 14 - Gospel & Okayama).13




5.1 Civil Engineering Procedure

            The current purview is of civil engineering infrastructure. The successful accomplishment of a civil engineering project involves many stages of operations and activities. The salient phases are:

            (a) feasibility studies

            (b) outline design and costing

            (c) assessing alternatives

            (d) public consultation

            (e) detailed design, drawings, estimates, specification and other contract documents

            These are accomplished and managed in a design office, followed by construction and commissioning extending to a life cycle of operation and maintenance.

            The traditional method of procurement of a civil engineering service is through competitive tendering, based on the relationship between promoter or employer, an engineer who designs and supervises the works, and the contractor who builds. For intellectual services of design and engineering the cheapest is unlikely to be the best value for money (Hallsworth).24 The traditional methods of procurement are sub-optimal (Thomas).15

            The traditional competitive tendering procedure is dependent on numerous contract documents comprised of innumerable details, items and conditions that could propagate contentious disputes, financial risks, and the ensuing  perception of souring attitudes and conflicting objectives, thus leading to adversarial relations. Such a milieu of transactions is not conducive to achieving objectives such as value for money, quality, time and cost control for the promoter on the one hand, and on the other the profits and success for the contractor. To ameliorate this inimical environment, the innovative relationship of partnering is an emerging trend in construction procurement.23,25,26,27 The New Engineering Contract (NEC) and its Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) suite is a new form of contract used by construction authorities in Britain in pursuit of less confrontational approach to construction project management.


5.2 Partnering

            Partnering is an innovative concept of reorganising relationships between the owner client, engineer and the contractor, into an integrated team characterised by a shared culture extending across organisational boundaries. Partnering is a long-term relationship in contrast to a short-term agreement lasting over a single contractual relationship. Some of its prerequisites and benefits include25,26,27(Crane; Winter; Stephens & Thomas; Kennedy & Johns):15

           (a) a shared culture

           (b) open communication and non-adversarial relationship

           (c) skills mix

           (d) synergetic teamwork

           (e) enabling innovation in construction by allowing contractors to  participate at the design stage

           (f) strengthening organisational and business stability

           (g) flexibility of risk management

            The partnering process begins with the decision to embark on a partnership. The ensuing process can be itemised as25,26 (Winter; Crane; Stephens & Thomas):15

            (a) selecting the right partners through a process of assessing compatibility by questions and answers, interviews, negotiation and short listing;

            (b) participation in workshops to get to know each other, their skills and strengths in the partnering organisations; to learn about the goals and              instruments of partnering; and

            (c) entering into a convenient agreement, ranging from informal, flexible, formal, depending on the circumstances, workload etc.


            The impetus for partnering arrangements for local authorities comes from several factors including the following (Winter):15

            (a) Dwindling workload

            (b) Reduction of staff due to improvements in efficiency necessitated by compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) requirement.

            (c) Instability, inflexibility and inefficiency of local authority design consultancies caused by the reduction of workload and staff.


            The benefits of partnering with competitive private sector consultancies include the following (Winter).15

            (a) Enable growth while maintaining a steady workload by two-way exchange of workload.

            (b) Maintain a steady staff number without exposure to periodic fluctuation of workload.


Private sector consultants who enter into partnership gain some of these benefits, for example access to wider skill base, opportunity to broaden skills, and widening the client base. 

            The concept of partnering includes the contractor to different degrees on a different arrangement to that with the consultant. There is wide range of cases set in different circumstances. The highway condition survey and IT support in Devon, Norfolk bridge strengthening, Forton lake bridge and Moray Flood alleviation scheme illustrate the diverse nature of partnering contracts with the contractor (Crane; Kennedy & John).15


5.3 Design-Build

            The design-build method of procurement has several forms of which, a key feature is the amount of input, mainly the design part from the employer.28  However, the general characteristics of design-build is, it is a package deal where the contractor is empowered to retain a consultant and undertake to design and build the works for the client. The design-build is ideal for promoting innovative solutions expedient in major projects with significant design content. Turnkey is a form of major design-build contract. However, design-build is also used for time saving benefits in minor projects.

            Possibly among many successfully completed major design-build (PFI) projects, the Channel Tunnel Project presents evidence of considerable contractual discord.29


5.4 Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

            The Private Finance initiative consists of Design-Build-Finance-Operate (DBFO) and transfer ideology of infrastructure development. This system re-emerged in the UK in the 1980s.30 The key element of the PFI project is risk factors of construction and revenue. For transportation projects the revenue has to be estimated from the forecast traffic volumes and the appropriate tolls. In overseas projects the country-specific economic factors are important.31 In general, sensitivity analysis of cost, revenue, political and economic factors is necessary, requiring high calibre skills mix.32


5.5  Miscellaneous Innovative Solutions

            Some other innovative ideas come from areas such as, reducing lead time, minimising road closures in road works, and lane rental. The innovation in products, materials, apparatus and technologies including IT, telemetry and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) features is almost unending (Wright).33

            Another field of innovative civil engineering is low-cost appropriate technology for low-income communities in Developing countries. A wide range of low-cost sanitation systems is available to suit different cultural environments.33 Deep tube wells have improved the quality of life in communities in developing countries. The technology of stabilisation ponds for sewage treatment is ideal for tropical climates.34 These also exist in large numbers in temperate climates as in America, France and Germany. Maturation ponds are used for aquaculture, and treated effluent from stabilisation ponds can be used for irrigation.

            Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) – mainly the balancing ponds are innovative, environmentally friendly technology of urban flood control and drainage. These can be designed to enhance the aesthetic value, whereas the roadside green landscape is being appropriated under the constant pressure of transport projects. A recent addition to innovative technology is ‘constructed wetland’ wastewater treatment systems. These are low-cost, sustainable and environmentally embellishing SUDS technology.35 Regeneration and brownfield development is a mainstay of urban scene. Urban waste management is another area where innovative solutions are practiced worldwide. Campaign to recycle, reuse and reduce waste is a topical issue.




6.1 Value Engineering

            A key concept of innovation in engineering is value engineering. A strategy which can be represented as a multi-faceted gemstone. The following though not exhaustive, gives a general description of the many facets of value engineering.

           (a) Rethinking of project design and construction assumptions and methodologies to design a value added project, than the comparable alternatives.

           (b) Location and configuration of various elements of a scheme to optimise cost-benefits.

           (c) Eliminate the items that add to cost without contributing to the functional purview. One aspect of this is getting the right balance of quality, durability of different elements for optimum performance of the complete product or a scheme.

           (d) A project that optimises the whole life-cycle costs, with the required level of performance.

           (e) Multi-purpose projects.

           (f) Value engineering is basically a strategy of optimising costs and rationalising values of the project to add functional or desired aesthetic or other value concepts.


6.2 Engineering Excellence

            In the context of current purview the following reflect engineering excellence.

            (a) Functionality

            (b) Meeting the needs of the client and users

            (c) Financial or economic feasibility

            (d) Optimality of cost-benefits

            (e) Completion in time and to budget

            (f) Technical merit and ingenuity

            (g) Performance

            (h) Minimising adverse environmental impacts and creating improvements

            (i) Value engineering

            (j) Constructability

            (k) Safety and health record

            (l) Good relationships during the project cycle

            (m) Sustainability

            (n) Ease of operation and maintenance

            (o) Aesthetics

            (p) Contribution to the profession


            Different projects may be judged by different criteria. Besides, the value to society, whether it is functional, theoretical, economic or aesthetic is a relevant factor. Hence, the allocation of resources, the opportunity cost and the value of outcomes rather than the efforts and outputs alone are relevant conditions of evaluating engineering excellence (Pigg).15 The final decision of a development planning process rests with the political accountability of the decision maker.36  That decision reached by the political process rests on a narrower basis of consent37 (Huskinson)38. Ultimate decisions to be reasonable and progressive must manifest both technical and social understanding.21




7.1 Transportation Trends

            One of the focal points of municipal engineering is urban transport and traffic management. Creative, innovative ideas are implemented and experimented continually in this sphere. These schemes reflect the cultural concepts of appropriation and commodification.

            In the UK as well as globally car ownership and use has increased in line with the gradual improvement in household incomes. This has led to congestion during peak hours in some urban roads. Concurrently traffic calming measures are applied for the safety of other road users and environmental improvement of residential neighbourhoods.

Reallocating urban road space in favour of public transport or high occupancy vehicles is a policy of public authorities. In past decades there has been a reversal of the trend of car culture at least by the government objectives and policies. New forms of earlier modes of transport, namely light rail and tram are being reintroduced and buses are promoted. Campaign for the reversal of car culture also advocates cycling and walking. Simultaneously with the increase in car use in UK, the proportion of population cycling to work has declined with some interest in leisure; whereas in some European countries such as Holland and Denmark the proportion cycling to work remain high.


7.2 Prioritising Public Transport

             In the emerging concept of reallocation of road space, high occupancy vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised while cars are discouraged from entering city centres at least during certain times of the day and week (Hall).33  The reallocation of road space is implemented in a package, known as quality bus corridor or what Birmingham calls bus showcase, as shown in the [Figs. (5,6 & 7). The measures include prioritising buses, junction improvement, modernising the bus shelters and the integral pedestrian environment (Rye & Enoch).40,41,42 An intriguing feature in this innovation is that commonly the road space is reallocated with minimum or no provision of alternative space for the displaced traffic. It is a relief to know that in many cases the traffic has just disappeared (Cairns et al).39 Literature suggests bus is the cheapest and efficient mode of urban transport (Lowson)39, (Wright)40. Yet, there are numerous factors that encourage and discourage passengers to and from bus travel (Stradling, Enoch & Potter)39, (Rye & Enoch)40. Roadside parking restrictions resulting in a conflict of interests with the local shopkeepers is one of the impacts of bus prioritisation. Sheffield tram achieved less than the forecast figures of passengers (Ahern).39


7.3 Cycling and Walking

            Government policy guidance on local development planning gives emphasis to accommodate cycle friendly infrastructure (McClintock, Cleary)33, (Mackett)39. These policies are implemented as far as practically feasible. While it is virtually impossible to provide comprehensively effective cycle infrastructure in urban plans, some argue that cyclists must learn to travel along with the mainstream traffic.43 The latter reflects cultural appropriation of the road space by the cyclists. A conflict between cyclists and pedestrians similar to the conflict between motorists and cyclists has been noted (McClintock).33 [Fig. 8] illustrates a cycle route in Liverpool.

            The fashionable selling point of walking and cycling to school and work is the health benefits to be gained from these modes of transport instead of the risks of ill health from sedentary modes of travel (McClintock, Cleary).33 (Mackett)39. Advocacy for walking and cycling to school suggests that exposure to hazards and learning to use roads safely is the way to improve safe living in the urban environment (Mackett)39,(Lupton et al)44.


7.4 Traffic Calming

            The use of speed cameras for the control of speed at accident sites though claimed to be effective to different degrees, is also controversial.45,46 Traffic calming measures in residential roads are effective. Horizontal shifts are environmentally favourable, though vertical measures are more effective in speed control.37,47 The redesign of road space for shared use by children and local traffic in ‘home zones’ demonstrates innovation in urban design (Delap & McMillan).44

            Author suggests self-regulation of driving speeds according to displayed signs on highways must be inculcated and instilled in drivers as a cultural value from school age. This optimistic view is shared by few others.45,48 That is what innovation, inclusion and integration should be about. Some accounts of status quo of speeding driver behaviour are daunting.47,48 Some local authorities promote culturing safer driving complying with speed limits.


7.5 Car Culture

             The characteristics and impacts of travel by car can be summarised as follows to portray car culture (Stradling).39  On one extreme: Autonomy, mobility, being in control, image, pride, practicing driving skills, self-confidence and privacy. On the other extreme: congestion, stress, delay, danger of accidents, and feeling of guilt. In moderation: flexibility, convenience and reliability - door-to-door flexibility and availability at will with the protection from weather.

            The object of congestion charging or road pricing can be any of the following: demand management of road space i.e., reduce congestion; or a means of revenue for provision and improvement of highway environment infrastructure.11  The latter is less complex and relies more on commercial judgements. The former is more complex as is evident from controversy and debate (Simpson).33 The revenue from congestion charging is directed towards improvement in public transport.

            The current methods of congestion charging are technologically basic planning strategies. Real-time electronic congestion charging according to the level of congestion is the equitable aim, which is still an ambitious goal because of the technological and implementation complexities (Lewis)49.


7.6 Culturing Transport and Travel

            Innovations in integrated transport comprise facilitating integration of physical infrastructure among all modes of travel and integrating ticketing as well as financing and integration between the operations of the different modes of public transport.50,51

            In an affluent society people conscientiously or not chose their preferred mode of transport. Therefore, incentives, alternative options, motivation, ideally, empowerment of the citizens rather than coercion to chose more sustainable and gratifying modes of travel should be the prime driver of modal change campaign. Rethinking modal change of urban travel must be marketed as a modern cultural value rather than a confrontational tact.


8. Discussion and Conclusions

            Besides the myriad of industrial products and services, recent innovations in civil engineering have been in reorganised arrangements in construction procurement. Of these, partnering of public authorities with consultants and contractors is a key area that has demonstrated some success. This arrangement has also been able to rescue the enervated local authority design consultancies. The key to this success comes from bespoke negotiations and compatibility appraisal to harmonise resources and energies of separate organisations in order to achieve engineering excellence through teamwork. All parties are fairly rewarded. Trust, confidence, openness and commitment are basic traits of the shared culture.

            The source of creativity and innovation is in education and training complemented by life experiences. Creative innovation is meeting the needs in harmony with the holistic environment. This accedes with the Greek word kultura meaning culture.  Architects, engineers and technologists, plan, design and construct within the constraints of wherewithal. For performance and sustainability, infrastructure must be appropriate for and compatible with the functioning environments consisting of providers, users, economics and physical environment. For progressive development of personnel who are the creative asset of organisations, theory and practice must balance, and be motivated to grasp problems and create appropriate solutions. Value engineering is an apt buzzword for innovation. Besides the core objectives, teamwork is a means of personal and professional development of human resources. The holistic accomplishment of a mission is an outcome of teamwork and skills mix. Synergy of teamwork is achieved by capitalising upon the optimum potential of team members working together.

             In the UK urban transport strategy do-minimum option is the modernisation of bus infrastructure to attract passengers. Light-rail is capital intensive and its success of attracting commuter passengers is inconclusive. Light-rail is a basic element of integrated transport. The dominant paradigm of urban traffic management relies on impeding physical infrastructure and fiscal measures of driver control. Impeding approach alienates motorists from the desired strategy of culture change that should be inculcated from school age as a prevailing cultural value. This is an inspiration than a conclusion. People need to have choice of their mode of transport, whether it is walking, cycling, bus, tram or train. The choice between car and public transport must be based on conscience influenced by inculcation, incentives and controls. There are two issues that reflects car culture. They are the need for or choice of making a journey by car, and driver behaviour in harmony with traffic signs. Road pricing is an instrument in infancy.

             Cultural awareness bears many connotations. One is selection of technology especially relevant to low-cost sanitation and housing infrastructure. Another is, familiarity with organisational culture for harmonious project execution and effective technology transfer. Another important aspect is acumen needed to advocate changes in practices and values for appropriating technology and services. A pervading one is architectural and cultural aesthetics. Cultural relevance is inseparable from economic choice.

             In developing countries a formidable urban demand is slum improvement. Though solutions like vertical city are technologically viable, local economies preclude grand projects in many cities. Urban transportation solutions are virtually similar globally. Empowering low-income communities to participate in partnering in low-cost community infrastructure development is an innovative approach. Notwithstanding persisting poverty, technology disseminates globally and local communities appropriate emerging technologies. To use technology and for sustainability society has to adopt new practises and be able to maintain and upkeep.

Over the latter half of twentieth century especially in developed countries living standards have improved tremendously, populations have adopted lifestyles that are unhealthy in the one hand and on the other environmentally unsustainable. Therefore sustainable culture change is opportune. Society and technology interact and both shape and are shaped by each other. Culture has many aspects of which some deserve respect, fostering and tolerance. Some others need reshaping by enlightenment and motivation to reassess the values and lifestyles.



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