About RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment

RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment (JIE) conducts research and analysis in civil and criminal justice, infrastructure development and financing, environmental policy, transportation planning and technology, immigration and border protection, public and occupational safety, energy policy, science and innovation policy, space, telecommunications, and trends and implications of artificial intelligence and other computational technologies—all areas in which RAND has a long track record and deep reservoirs of expertise. JIE has particular interest in examining cross-cutting issues of regulation vs. deregulation; governance; regionalism; and the changing roles of civil society.

JIE research is known for its

  • objective, innovative approaches to problem-solving
  • comprehensive understanding of history and context in relevant policymaking
  • impartial, expert analysis of complex—and sometimes controversial—policy issues
  • clearly communicated findings and recommendations subject to rigorous quality assurance
  • engagement at all levels of government (national, regional, local) and with the private sector
  • capabilities that cut across traditional policy boundaries and span multiple economic sectors often at once.

JIE works across three program areas: Justice Policy; Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy; and Science, Technology and Policy. Together, researchers from across the three programs bring a multi-disciplinary approach and broad range of expertise to critical policy questions in four areas: governance, regulation, civil society reform, regionalism.

JIE pursues many questions that purposefully cut across its research areas and programs. Sample issue areas are noted in the table below.

JIE Cross-Program and Interdisciplinary Research Areas

  JIE Programs and Example Research Questions
Cross-Program Research Areas
Justice Policy Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Science, Technology, and Policy
  • How should ethical guidelines interact with civil and criminal legal proscriptions?
  • How should large organizations, including police forces, be governed?
  • What are the appropriate roles of local, state, and federal government in infrastructure planning and finance?
  • How can the benefits and risks of open data and big data be balanced? How can competing interests in data be addressed?
  • How can new technology protect cybersecurity, while fostering interoperability?
  • How do the criminal and civil legal systems interact with regulation?
  • How can tort law function as a shadow regulatory system?
  • How do regional knowledge networks drive innovation in urban design and planning?
  • How should we evaluate the resilience of infrastructure, communities, and natural resources?
  • How can government balance fostering new technologies with regard for potential side effects?
  • How should public policy address privacy and consumer-protection concerns?
Civil Society Reform
  • How can we strengthen the institutions of civil society?
  • How does the law interact with social norms to improve behavior?
  • What are the emerging models for prioritizing and financing infrastructure development and maintenance?
  • How can public/private partnerships be used to improve disaster risk management?
  • How can civil society enhance its role in environmental policy and decision-making?
  • How is access to science and technology being democratized, and with what implications?
  • How can the development and use of new science and technology engage more people?
  • What role should local variation play in the criminal and civil justice systems?
  • What legal processes and outcomes should be standardized, and how much should be left to regional and state jurisdictions?
  • How can the regulatory process be used to develop more resilient communities?
  • How can we evaluate environmental policies, programs, and practices?
  • How can state and local governments best promote smart and connected communities?
  • How is technology changing the nature and distribution of work, and what are the implications for jobs and workers?