The word infrastructure has been used in French since 1875 and in English since 1887, originally meaning "The installations that form the basis for any operation or system". The word was imported from French, where it was already used for establishing a roadbed of substrate material, required before railroad tracks or constructed pavement could be laid on top of it. The word is a combination of the Latin prefix "infra", meaning "below" as many of these constructions are underground, for example, tunnels, water and gas systems, and railways and the French word "structure" (derived from the Latin word "structura"). The army use of the term achieved currency in the United States after the formation of NATO in the 1940s, and by 1970 was adopted by urban planners in its modern civilian sense.
A clothes dryer connected to a load control "smart" switch used in a smart grid
Smart grid is a type of electrical grid which attempts to predict and intelligently respond to the behaviour and actions of all electric power users connected to it - suppliers, consumers and those that do both – in order to efficiently deliver reliable, economic, and sustainable electricity services. Essentially, it is a fundamental re-engineering of the electric services industry, focusing on technical infrastructure.
In Europe, the smart grid is conceived of as employing innovative products and services together with intelligent monitoring, control, communication, and self-healing technologies in order to among other objectices: allow consumers to play a part in optimising the operation of the system and maintain or even improve the existing high levels of system reliability, quality and security of supply.
Broadly stated, a smart grid could respond to events which occur anywhere in the power generation, distribution and demand chain. Events may occur generally in the environment (e.g., clouds blocking the sun and reducing the amount of solar power or a very hot day requiring increased use of air conditioning). They could occur commercially in the power supply market, e.g., customers change their use of energy as prices are set to reduce energy use during high peak demand. Events might also occur locally on the distribution grid, e.g., an MV transformer fails, requiring a temporary shutdown of one distribution line. Finally these events might occur in the home, e.g., everyone leaves for work, putting various devices into hibernation, and data ceases to flow to an IPTV. Each event motivates a change to power flow.
Pearson used his influence as City Solicitor to promote improvements to transport communications. Initially, he proposed a central railway station for the City, accessed by tunnel, that would be used by multiple railway companies enabling workers to commute to the City from further away. When this plan was rejected, Pearson promoted an underground railway connecting the capital's northern termini. The resulting Metropolitan Railway was the first underground railway in the world and led to the development of the extensive London Underground network and the rapid expansion of the capital.
Recognising the increasing congestion in the City and its rapidly growing suburbs, Pearson published a pamphlet in 1845 calling for the construction of an underground railway through the Fleet valley to Farringdon. The proposed railway would have been an atmospheric railway with trains pushed through tunnels by compressed air. Although the proposal was ridiculed and came to nothing (and would almost certainly have failed if it had been built, due to the shortcomings of the technology proposed), Pearson continued to lobby for a variety of railway schemes throughout the 1840s and 1850s. Many of the proposed schemes were rejected, but the Commission did recommend that a railway be constructed linking the termini with the docks and the General Post Office at St. Martin's Le Grand. A private bill for the Metropolitan Railway between Praed Street in Paddington and Farringdon received assent on 7 August 1854.
When it opened, the Metropolitan Railway had a significant impact on street traffic, particularly cabs and omnibuses but these quickly recovered to near their former levels, despite the Metropolitan Railway also carrying over 9 million passengers in its first year of operation. The Metropolitan Railway and the network of underground lines that grew from it was the first in the world and the idea was not adopted elsewhere until 1896 when the Budapest Metro and the Glasgow Subway were both opened. Without Pearson's promotion of the idea of an underground railway when he did it is possible that transport developments at the end of the 19th century developments, such as electric trams and vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, might have meant the underground solution was ignored. The expansion of the capital that the underground network and its suburban surface extensions enabled was considerable and rapid and helped the population of what is now Greater London to increase from 3,094,391 in 1861 to 6,226,494 in 1901. Read more...