Submitted by: Peter Torrellas, Chief Technology Officer, Siemens Mobility and Logistics Division, Siemens Infrastructure and Cities Sector

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently released its “report card” on the state of American infrastructure. Frankly, the results aren’t good. As a country we received a D+ and in Pennsylvania the infrastructure merited a C-. No other part of any industry in the world is competing and winning with machines, technology or systems that are even one-third as old as the national infrastructure in the U.S. But, the news isn’t all bad. What these rankings show us is that we have an enormous opportunity to make the infrastructure improvements to create our competitive advantage in the 21st century global market and increase economic growth in our cities today.

Philadelphia is one region especially poised for this opportunity. As the second largest city on the East coast, the need for infrastructure that can support the quality of life for its citizens and economic growth is paramount. From the Innovation District which will enhance the City’s ability to attract and support entrepreneurs, to the ecological innovation potential for the Lower Schuylkill area of the smart energy grid, and the building and transportation renaissance at Navy Yard which stands to be a lighthouse for land use and infrastructure development, Philadelphia is a city ready to lead the way.

One key to realizing this potential is a focus on mobility. The ASCE report card stated current road infrastructure in Pennsylvania is costing motorists $341 per year. And as America’s 10th most traffic congested city, the need for intelligent and ecological modes of transportation s becomes increasingly important. The Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is hosting a meeting this week specifically focused on the opportunities intelligent mobility can bring to the Philadelphia region. Improvements can allow buses to deliver riders to their destinations faster, offer drivers mobile parking applications that indicate any open parking spot, and centralize a city’s mobility infrastructure in one control center.

But, there always remains a question of how to make these projects happen. When the private and public sector partner to collaboratively develop solutions, it creates a win/win.  These alliances can encourage the free market to respond more efficiently not only to today’s problems but also tomorrow’s. In a recent meeting with Mayor Michael Nutter’s Sustainability Office and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, we discussed how to make infras