Public Utilities

  • A man selling air coolers rests at a market on a hot summer day in Ahmedabad, India May 4, 2017

    Commentary

    Staying Cool as the Globe Warms

    Studies suggest that the heat of the future will exceed humans' capacity to cope. But taking advantage of smart technology, inexpensive traditional methods of cooling that require little energy use, and innovative energy-efficient technologies could provide a sustainable path forward in heat-challenged regions.

    Apr 23, 2018

  • The Colorado Aqueduct near the Iron Mountain Pumping Plant in Earp, California, April 16, 2015

    Commentary

    How Federal Policy Could Help Water and Wastewater Utilities

    A targeted approach could help the federal government address the root causes of infrastructure problems more effectively than a spending initiative that simply spreads money around with the hope that more spending might do some good.

    Jan 16, 2018

  • News Release

    Not Everything Is Broken with U.S. Transportation and Water Infrastructure; Improved Targeted Strategies Needed to Fix ...

    Transportation and water infrastructure funding and finance in the United States are not nearly as dire as some believe, but a national consensus on infrastructure priorities, accompanied by targeted spending and selected policy changes, is needed.

    Dec 5, 2017

  • Road bridge over Narragansett Bay, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA

    Research Brief

    Fixing U.S. Infrastructure's Ills Requires an Accurate Diagnosis

    This brief examines how the federal government can better promote investment in and maintenance of U.S. transportation and water infrastructure.

    Dec 5, 2017

  • Chickamauga Lock and Dam, near Chattanooga, Tennessee

    Report

    Not Everything Is Broken with U.S. Transportation and Water Infrastructure

    Transportation and water infrastructure funding and finance in the United States are not nearly as dire as some believe. But a national consensus on infrastructure priorities, accompanied by targeted spending and selected policy changes, is needed.

    Dec 5, 2017

  • A house with energy-efficient solar panels on the roof

    Commentary

    Getting (Solar) Electricity Pricing Right

    Demand for rooftop solar panels is soaring among U.S. homeowners. Meanwhile, states are struggling to adapt a 20th-century electrical grid—and the corresponding cost structure for electricity rates—to this 21st-century reality. This is causing confusion and uncertainty.

    Jul 24, 2017

  • Filling up a glass with water from a kitchen faucet

    Commentary

    Getting the Lead Out of Pittsburgh's Water

    Without an aggressive long-term strategy for replacing service lines, and collaboration among the water authority, public officials, and residents, lead in Pittsburgh's water will persist.

    Jul 3, 2017

  • Water line repair in a city street

    Report

    Pittsburgh's Options to Address Lead in Its Water

    Pittsburgh is struggling to manage and improve its aging water system, with a focus on elevated lead levels for many customers. What steps could help steer the city toward a permanent solution and protect future generations?

    Jun 27, 2017

  • Solar panels and wind generators against a city view

    Commentary

    Investing in Infrastructure? Don't Forget the Electric Grid

    Leaving the future of America's electricity grid to chance should not be an option. To maximize the potential benefits of a multibillion-dollar smart grid investment, a closer examination of technology and policy is needed.

    Dec 7, 2016

  • News Release

    Twenty Percent of U.S. Households View Landline Telephones as an Important Communication Choice

    The predicted death of the household landline telephone in the United States may be premature. While most Americans like their cell phones, twenty percent of American households still think having a landline phone is important.

    Nov 17, 2016

  • Vintage home telephone over blue background, above view.

    Report

    Twenty Percent of U.S. Consumers Still Consider Landlines Important

    The predicted death of the landline telephone may be premature. Twenty percent of American households surveyed still think having a landline telephone is most important. Among the majority, mobile telephone service was considered the most important, followed by fixed internet service.

    Nov 17, 2016

  • High voltage power lines

    Report

    Policy Options for Better Service Outcomes from the Future Electric Grid: A Stakeholder Symposium

    This symposium's goal was to identify important policy questions related to the present and future electric power grid system. This convening aimed to identify problem areas that could benefit from stakeholder-driven objective research.

    Apr 18, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Community Effects on Elderly Health: Evidence from CHARLS National Baseline

    There is increasing interest in neighborhood or area effects on health and individual development. China, due to its vast regional variations in health infrastructure and geography and relative immobility of older residents, provides a rare opportunity to study such effects.

    Feb 4, 2016

  • Protestors block trucks at the gate of a private-contractor company hired to shut off the water to residential customers with unpaid bills in Detroit, Michigan

    Commentary

    What Durban Can Teach Detroit: Getting Customers to Pay Their Water Bills

    South Africa is proving that governments in poor cities can provide water and collect payment without turning off the water spigot. Detroit and Baltimore might consider exploring models like this that have been successfully tested in even more challenging settings.

    Jul 29, 2015

  • Satellite image of the United States at night

    Essay

    How Smart Grids Can Change the Way We Live

    A modernized, “smart” grid could change how much you pay for electricity, where it comes from, and how likely you are to lose it in a summer storm. But has the reality of the smart grid kept pace with the promise?

    Apr 27, 2015

  • Hand touching tablet behind social media diagram and map

    Commentary

    The Clash of Internet Civilizations: Why Neither Side Should Prevail

    The debate over net neutrality pits two opposing philosophies against each other — one pushing for the continued evolution of the Internet as an open information superhighway, the other asserting that the Internet's evolution needs to take more account of the many ways it is and will be used.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • Holding a tablet computer with a weather icon

    Report

    The Adoption of New Smart-Grid Technologies

    A smart grid for the United States could have large-scale benefits. There are technological, economic, and regulatory barriers, but new policies or changes to policy could help overcome them.

    Jan 15, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Sustaining Critical Social Services During Extended Regional Power Blackouts

    This article outlines and estimates the incremental cost of a strategy that uses small distributed generation, distribution automation, and smart meters to keep a set of critical social services operational during a prolonged power outage that lasts for days or weeks and extends over hundreds of kilometers.

    Jul 1, 2012

  • British post mailbox

    Report

    Measuring Consumer Preferences for Postal Services in Europe

    Different market segments have varying postal service needs, according to RAND Europe research conducted for the European Commission. All consumers value parcel services, reliability, and low levels of loss, but big businesses value letter services more than small or medium businesses or the public.

    Jan 16, 2012

  • Report

    Characterizing the U.S. Industrial Base for Coal-Powered Electricity

    Coal-fired electricity generating units (EGUs) provide about 46 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S., yet most of the existing coal-fired electricity fleet is 25–45 years old. Can the industry maintain the capability to design, construct, and operate coal-fired EGUs within reasonable cost, schedule, performance, environmental, and quality expectations?

    Oct 27, 2011