Many contractors focusing on the infrastructure segment of the industry might be wondering: What will be the next big market opportunity for construction? When looking at all the possible segments, technology can help identify the feasibility of infrastructure prior to construction.

Some are pointing to rail and road as areas for future growth, while others indicate water and wastewater could see continued development.

With regards to rail and road, a new report shows Brazil, Russia, India, and China are a few markets that will likely experience growth in rail and road infrastructure construction.

In the United States, high-speed rail has been a talking point for quite some time. Last week, the LACMTA (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority), www.metro.net, Los Angeles, Calif., announced it has signed letters committing to define what would be necessary to deliver high-speed rail service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The rail service, termed XpressWest, would be one of the first high-speed rail lines in California, opening up the rest of the west for high-speed rail service, according to Tom Skancke, executive director, Western High Speed Rail Alliance, www.whsra.com, Las Vegas, Calif.

How will technology impact rail construction in particular? Software can help examine the financial and economic practicality of implementing a high-speed rail line prior to construction.

For example, AECOM, www.aecom.com, Los Angeles, Calif., a provider of technical and management services for transportation, energy, and water systems, is conducting a study on the economic merits and financial viability of an East Coast High-Speed Rail Line in Australia. The study is examining the feasibility of a rail network connecting Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and a range of regional centers.

The Quantm system from Trimble, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., which integrates engineering, environmental, social, and economic factors into analysis of alternatives for rail and road planning, is being used by AECOM to investigate alternatives in the final phase of the Australian East Coast High-Speed Rail Study.

The technology from Trimble allows owners and AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) team members to better plan new infrastructure projects. The software can accommodate projects of all types and size and can be used in transportation, mining, forestry, and utility industry infrastructure.

As government organizations and owners begin preparing for high-speed rail projects across the globe, a solution such as this can help better plan for the projects, ultimately lowering construction costs and enabling faster decision making.