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Civil Engineers Improve Infrastructure Sustainability Using Smart Construction Management — Here’s How


Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure evaluates and rates the condition and performance of America’s infrastructure, similar to the “form of a school report card — assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement."

In 2021, the United States’ infrastructure received a C- rating from the ASCE.

An improvement from previous years (in 2017 and 2013, the ASCE gave America’s infrastructure a D+ rating), it’s clear that the United States is in dire need of infrastructure improvements. 

What is the solution to America’s unstable infrastructure? In order to improve, refine and increase the sustainability of our infrastructure systems, we need skilled civil engineers who can envision smart construction management strategies and utilize smart technologies related to infrastructure management. 

Download Vanderbilt University’s construction management program guide to learn more about obtaining a graduate degree in engineering that will prepare you to transform the construction industry.


Let’s explore how civil engineers are improving infrastructure using smart technologies as well as the need for civil engineers in the construction management field.

What is smart infrastructure? 

According to Nexus Integra, smart infrastructure is “defined as a cyber-physical system that provides for an integral management of all elements that it comprises by means of different technological tools that help compile and analyze data to meet efficiency, sustainability, productivity and safety objectives.”

The Construction Leadership Council defines smart construction as the “building design, construction and operation that through collaborative partnerships makes full use of digital technologies and industrialized manufacturing techniques to improve productivity, minimize whole life cost, improve sustainability and maximize user benefits.”

There are several new, cutting-edge technologies in construction management that are improving America’s infrastructure. Let's explore a few examples below.  

Technologies Engineers Use to Restore and Improve Urban Infrastructure

Smart Cities

Improving infrastructure starts with technology. Using advanced digital technologies like IoT sensors and video cameras, smart cities enhance the experience of citizens, businesses and city operators. 

Civil engineers working in construction management must master cutting-edge technologies in order to upgrade existing city infrastructure systems — many of which haven’t been updated in years. Bringing novel technologies to physical frameworks allows for more upgrades to critical infrastructure.

Smart Transportation

Driverless cars, roads that charge vehicles and traffic signals that can optimize flow of traffic — these are just a few of the smart technologies that improve infrastructure related to transportation.

Since new, data-driven transportation infrastructure is so much more efficient than older infrastructure systems, civil engineers are tasked to work in tandem with other engineers and city developers in order to create reliable transportation efficiencies that benefit the entire community. 

Smart Buildings

Smart buildings are built with “a technology that allows for the automation of many internal processes” Because a smart building can control systems such as heating, lighting, security and other building systems, this type of smart infrastructure is cost-efficient and sustainable for the environment. 

In light of the current emphasis on environmental responsibility, construction managers face the obstacle of finding sustainable solutions for green building initiatives. Civil engineers working in construction management have the opportunity to plan, design, manage and maintain both private and public facilities — transforming them into cutting-edge smart buildings. 

Civil engineers who are experts in construction management are sought-after in the field of engineering, and as technology continues to advance, civil engineers will serve as catalysts for positive change in the area of infrastructure management. Let’s learn more about the construction management job outlook.

What is the construction management job outlook?

The job outlook and salary projects for professionals working in the field of construction management are both bright and lucrative. Here are just a few of the statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The construction management job outlook is lucrative. In fact, the construction management field is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than as the national average for all careers.

The average annual salary for those working in a construction management career is $101,480, making it a high-paying profession for civil engineers working in this dynamic field.

How to become a construction manager at Vanderbilt University School of Engineering:

Vanderbilt University is one of the most respected universities and research institutions in the world, and the School of Engineering is proud to offer a cutting-edge, rigorous master of engineering in civil engineering with a concentration in construction management.

Armed with this professional degree in civil engineering and trained through our immersive construction management internship program, you will enter the field with the skills and knowledge needed to transform the industry and experience a successful career in the field. 

If you are ready to join a community of visionary innovators with the Vanderbilt engineering community, we invite you to request more information or start your online application today. 


Download Vanderbilt University's construction management guide and take the first step in securing a career in construction management.

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