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The Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) has created a system-of-systems method for planning, underpinned by the suite of models and tools called NISMOD (National Infrastructure Systems Model). The NISMOD approach has been adopted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) which has changed the support it offers to partner countries.



The long-term and integrated planning of energy, transport, water, waste management and digital communications infrastructures is crucial for sustainable development.



The initial work by the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) in 2011 produced the first version of the National Infrastructure Systems Model (NISMOD). NISMOD enables national governments to make informed decision on how to create sustainable, efficient, and resilient infrastructure systems, integrating energy, transport, water, waste management and digital communications.

NISMOD uses a System-of-Systems method, recognising the growing interdependencies between sectors. For example, how the electrification of transport places increasing demands on electricity grids.



The NISMOD approach has improved understanding by the UN (UNOPS) on the importance of infrastructure to attain the sustainable development goals and has been embedded in UNOPS’ approach to national-level capacity building.

In 2016, the ITRC/UNOPS partnership began working with the Government of Curaçao to undertake a comprehensive assessment of Curaçao’s infrastructure needs. This led to the creation of a spatial infrastructure asset database for Curaçao and enhanced the island’s capabilities for cross-sectoral, long-term and resilient-orientated infrastructure assessment. Oxford ITRC researchers trained 15 senior civil servants and analysts from the Ministry of Traffic, Transportation and Urban Planning in the use of NISMOD and EBI. This led to the Curaçao government producing a Road Map for the Implementation of the SDGs in 2018, and the European Development Fund prioritising financial investments in infrastructure in Curaçao amounting to EUR16,950,000 in 2019.

Collaborating with ITRC and UNOPS, the government of Saint Lucia has developed a National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA). This involved data collection and analysis of future infrastructure needs for energy, wastewater, water and solid waste services as well as analysis of climate change driven hazards to various infrastructure.

The impact of research is set to continue with a collaboration underway in Ghana and an agreement to begin work in Jamaica.


More information

Institution: University of Oxford

Researchers: Professor Jim Hall, Dr Matt Ives


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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2023) Planning infrastructure systems to support sustainable development through the United Nations. Available at  Last accessed on: <date>