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The Future of Mobility

The Future of Mobility: Scenarios for the United States in 2030

Johanna Zmud
Liisa Ecola
Peter Phleps
Irene Feige
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 134
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  • Book Info
    The Future of Mobility
    Book Description:

    Mobility is defined as the ability to travel from one location to another, regardless of mode or purpose. This report presents two divergent and thought-provoking scenarios for future mobility in the United States in 2030. These were developed using a unique six-step scenario development process. The report also provides suggestions for how transportation planners and policymakers can use these scenarios to inform their own planning.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8374-6
    Subjects: Transportation Studies, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. iii-ii)
    Andreas Kopp

    Mobility: Why does it matter? People seldom travel just for the sake of it–they do so for the purpose of work or leisure, and for a host of other reasons. The world over, mobility is associated with increasing economic output, higher standards of living, and personal freedom–and the diversity of lifestyles that such freedom entails. While it is true that emerging technology can, in some cases, afford virtual opportunities that substitute for mobility–as, for example, when electronic communication replaces face-to-face interaction–there is no doubt that mobility will continue to play a major role in societies of...

  3. Preface
    (pp. iv-v)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-vii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. viii-xv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvi-xvii)
  7. Chapter One Introduction
    (pp. 1-9)

    For decades, transportation infrastructure in the United States has been built and maintained primarily to serve people and their cars. Starting just after World War II, the number of miles driven annually on America’s roads steadily increased. The rising numbers were related to societal shifts, such as women joining the workforce, families moving to the suburbs, and the greater affordability of more cars for more people. Then, after the turn of the century, something changed: Americans began driving fewer miles–an unexpected development. Why this has occurred is, as of yet, not fully known. Reasons may include repercussions from the...

  8. Chapter Two Past Trends in Influencing Areas
    (pp. 11-23)

    In this chapter, we summarize past trends in each of the five influencing areas: demographics, economics, energy, transportation funding and supply, and technology. This information was drawn from the white papers that served as background materials for each workshop. The information provided in these papers, especially the historical quantitative data, helped define the range of plausible future projections. The full white papers, including all references and illustrative tables and figures, are published in Appendixes C through G, available as a separate, web-only document (Brownell et al., 2013). We also discuss briefly the rationale for including each of the influencing areas....

  9. Chapter Three The Scenarios
    (pp. 25-49)

    In this chapter, we present the scenarios, No Free Lunch and Fueled and Freewheeling. However, we preface these scenarios with a section on common projections. These are estimates of future possibilities that are shared by both scenarios. In keeping with common practice in this field, the content in this chapter is written from the future vantage point of 2030. Note that all prices are provided in 2012 dollars.

    Although the overall focus of scenario planning is identifying alternative future developments, different scenarios often share some common projections. This can happen because there is only one (relatively certain) projection for a...

  10. Chapter Four Consequences for Future Mobility
    (pp. 51-63)

    The paths of mobility development illustrated by the two scenarios lead to alternative travel behavior outcomes. For each scenario, we developed estimates of PMT in 2030 for four transportation modes: vehicle, transit, domestic air, and intercity rail. These projections reflect the combined influence of multiple descriptors in the scenario, some of which tend to increase the amount of travel and others that tend to depress it. Our analysis takes into account the strength of these factors, as well as the size of their influence on travel. Details of how these estimates were developed are found in Appendix A. Using these...

  11. Chapter Five Wild-Card Scenarios
    (pp. 65-73)

    Scenarios can be bounded by what is plausible, believable, or imaginable today in order to form a cohesive story about the future. In our study, we limited ourselves to the development of two scenarios, No Free Lunch and Fueled and Freewheeling, to focus on the key differences in projections. But, in thinking about the future of mobility, we do not want to miss any discontinuities that, in retrospect, may emerge as more important. So, in this chapter, we present two wild-card or low-probability scenarios. Wild cards are designed to provoke thinking about the unthinkable. These assume that certain events have...

  12. Chapter Six Implications of the Scenarios
    (pp. 75-81)

    Each scenario captures a hypothetical context in which future transportation policy and planning might be conducted. The scenarios account for both the current state of affairs (because the projections were based on past trends) and the various forces that may be shaping the future state of affairs in 2030. These forces, which may be more or less likely and more or less desired, will have a combined effect on mobility outcomes in the future.

    As noted previously, our scenarios are descriptive and not normative. We did not seek to define a desired mobility future and then identify the path to...

  13. Chapter Seven Conclusions
    (pp. 83-85)

    Our project sought to answer the question, “What might we expect for the future of mobility in the United States in 2030?” Knowing that the future of mobility in the United States in 2030 is uncertain, we developed two scenarios, No Free Lunch and Fueled and Freewheeling. These scenarios illustrate the paths that may result from interconnected impacts of market, policy, and consumer forces. No Free Lunch describes a future in which the United States has strengthened regulations to reduce dependency on oil and GHG emissions, which result in greater investment in AFV R&D, increased public transit ridership, greater reliance...

  14. Appendix A. Methodology
    (pp. 87-105)
  15. Appendix B. List of Experts
    (pp. 107-109)
  16. References
    (pp. 110-113)
  17. Figures and Tables
    (pp. 114-114)
  18. Abbreviations
    (pp. 115-117)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 118-118)