A review of the use of artificial intelligence methods in infrastructure systems

Lauren McMillan*, Liz Varga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution offers significant opportunities to capitalise on the growth of digitalisation and has the potential to enable the ‘system of systems’ approach required in increasingly complex infrastructure systems. This paper reviews the extent to which research in economic infrastructure sectors has engaged with fields of AI, to investigate the specific AI methods chosen and the purposes to which they have been applied both within and across sectors. Machine learning is found to dominate the research in this field, with methods such as artificial neural networks, support vector machines, and random forests among the most popular. The automated reasoning technique of fuzzy logic has also seen widespread use, due to its ability to incorporate uncertainties in input variables. Across the infrastructure sectors of energy, water and wastewater, transport, and telecommunications, the main purposes to which AI has been applied are network provision, forecasting, routing, maintenance and security, and network quality management. The data-driven nature of AI offers significant flexibility, and work has been conducted across a range of network sizes and at different temporal and geographic scales. However, there remains a lack of integration of planning and policy concerns, such as stakeholder engagement and quantitative feasibility assessment, and the majority of research focuses on a specific type of infrastructure, with an absence of work beyond individual economic sectors. To enable solutions to be implemented into real-world infrastructure systems, research will need to move away from a siloed perspective and adopt a more interdisciplinary perspective that considers the increasing interconnectedness of these systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105472
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalEngineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence
Early online date18 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

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