News from the Global Infrastructure Initiative—September 2017

September 2017

Mobility is central to our economies and essential for our way of life. Every day, billions of people and tons of goods move by road, rail, air, and water. Yet transportation has consequences—congestion, pollution, CO2 emissions, and a massive burden on state budgets to maintain and improve our transportation infrastructure. Due to a wave of new technologies, funding pressures, and an evolution in where and how we live and work, we are experiencing the beginnings of a major shift in mobility. How the future will play out is uncertain, but the implications for all stakeholders will be significant.

In this edition of Voices, we focus on how to navigate these major disruptions in transportation. Consistent with this theme, we are hosting a GII Stockholm roundtable on the future of mobility in September. Immediately afterward, we will visit Sweden's two electric road system (ERS) pilots on a GII innovation site visit (ISV). The ERS is a bold initiative by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) to explore low-carbon transportation by combining the efficiency of rail with the flexibility of road transport. In this issue of Voices, Trafikverket shares their vision for this project and their approach to overcoming challenges faced along the way.

In case you missed it, the Outcomes report from our 2017 GII Summit can be found here. GII aspires to stimulate leaders to improve the way we deliver critical infrastructure and get more out of existing assets. Based on the insights shared at the 2017 summit, we believe we are making progress on this mission. We hope that this report, capturing the summit's best ideas, will serve as a guide for the GII community in moving the industry forward. As progress is a collective effort, we encourage our readers to commit to implementing at least one of these ideas before we reconvene at the next GII Summit in Europe in 2018.

Spurred by the recent McKinsey Global Institute report Reinventing construction through a productivity revolution, we will be hosting GII roundtables on the topic in Johannesburg in September, Paris in October, and Frankfurt in November. These peer-to-peer discussions will explore how digital technologies, collaborative contracts, and better on-site execution can help construction seize a $1.6 trillion opportunity by boosting productivity.

We are excited to announce that we have confirmed November 7–9 as the dates for our ISV to King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and Jeddah megaprojects in Saudi Arabia. The topic for this ISV will be "Planning, financing, and delivering a new city." The KAEC executive team will walk participants through what they are doing to keep this $100 billion megaproject moving, and participants will get a sneak preview of some of Jeddah's most exciting megaprojects under construction. For more details on upcoming events, contact us at

Our forthcoming December edition of Voices will focus on smart cities—turning opportunity into reality. It will feature a fascinating selection of articles, interviews, and videos covering topics ranging from urban cyber resilience to smart utilities. As always, we welcome your thoughts on Voices, and we hope you enjoy the September edition.


Real-estate developers are in prime position to lead the shift to modular construction. Crafting their product strategies and supplier partnerships are good places to start.

Nick Bertram, Jan Mischke, and Erik Sjödin, McKinsey & Company


Encouraging UK governments and construction companies to scale modern methods of construction can help address concerns over diminishing housing as well as prepare the emerging workforce to manage it.

Nick Walkley, Homes England


A look at countries that have embraced modular construction reveals that two critical conditions—labor dynamics and housing demand—predict adoption, though other factors can also play a big role.

Nick Bertram, Jan Mischke, Maria João Ribeirinho, and Gernot Strube, McKinsey & Company

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