In October 2022, the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) convened participants from industry, non-profits, and academia, for a webinar hosted by the MIT Global SCALE Network, to discuss the effects of environmental awareness, Covid-19, the rise of digitization, the e-commerce boom, and the rise of energy prices on the innovation of mobility. Digitization evolves with and also fosters four major ongoing techno-economic developments in logistics: automation, connectivity, electrification, and shared ownership. This digital transformation does not only involve hard factors but also requires soft approaches.
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Urban Mobility: The Road Ahead
How can cities improve urban mobility, especially in congested urban centers? The MIT Global SCALE Network organized a webinar to address this question by exploring innovation mobility solutions, the challenges they face, and the opportunities for both users and service providers. Here are some key takeaways.
Automated driving faces speed bumps
The Society of Automotive Engineers defines six levels of driving automation ranging from manual driving to full self-driving. Automation is changing the way we drive. For example, drivers speed more when using partial automation but with lower variability than in manual mode. There are four enablers of automated driving: Autonomy, Technology, Infrastructure, Acceptance and Legislation. Each enabler poses different challenges. For instance, an Acceptance issue is that consumer understanding of autonomous driving is not aligned with automation capabilities.
Mobility technology has many faces
The benefits of urban mobility data and digitalization technologies vary according to which party is considered. Examples of such differences include citizens who use real-time data to estimate the arrival time of passenger vehicles, and food delivery services that use the technology to synchronize demand and supply.
Cities need to plan for mobility
Cities need to adapt to future mobility solutions with capabilities such as synchronized planning. Recommended actions for creating mobility solutions adoption strategies in cities include developing living labs, preparing for new data sharing agreements, and establishing dedicated departments and resources for mobility initiatives.
Mobility-as-a service is emerging
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is a multiplayer concept where a mobility operator provides a platform of services for various players including industry users and societies. MaaS is expected to create a paradigm shift in multimodal mobility and provide new choices for users. For example, it will create packages of services that offer users different mobility options.
Research can help unlock MaaS benefits
Among the many challenges that MaaS offerings face is choosing which packages should be available at what price and establishing the best mix of services for given users. However, new business models will create competition and commercial opportunities. Meanwhile, more research is needed in key areas such as actors’ roles and value, and the market conditions required to support sustainable MaaS business models.