Research

Mobility of the Future

Examining future changes in personal mobility

MITEI’s three-year Mobility of the Future study explored the major factors that affect the evolution of personal mobility from 2020 to 2050. Using a scenario-based approach, the diverse study team of MIT faculty, researchers, and students examined how different factors shape the future of personal mobility at different scales, from global and national markets to policy and mobility choices at the city and individual levels. The study team’s report, Insights into Future Mobility (November 2019), presents results and findings to help stakeholders anticipate and navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

The report includes detailed findings on five areas of influence on the future landscape for personal mobility:

  1. The potential impact of climate change policies on global fleet composition, fuel consumption, fuel prices, and economic output
  2. The outlook for vehicle ownership and travel, with a focus on the world’s two largest light-duty vehicle markets—the U.S. and China
  3. Characteristics of alternative vehicle powertrains and fuels that could affect their future market share
  4. Infrastructure considerations for charging and fueling, particularly as they affect future demand for electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  5. The future of personal mobility in urban areas, with a focus on the potentially disruptive role of autonomous vehicles and ride-hailing services

Lead Investigators

William Green

Hoyt C. Hottel Professor of Chemical Engineering

Faculty Chair, Mobility of the Future study

Sergey Paltsev

Senior Research Scientist, MIT Energy Initiative

Deputy Director, MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Moshe Ben-Akiva

Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Director, Intelligent Transportation Systems Lab

John Heywood

Professor Emeritus, Mechanical Engineering and MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Climate Change

Chintan Vaishnav

Senior Lecturer, System Dynamics Group, Sloan School of Management

Jinhua Zhao

Edward H. and Joyce Linde Associate Professor of City and Transportation Planning, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Director, JTL Urban Mobility Lab and Transit Lab

Bryan Reimer

Research Scientist, MIT AgeLab

Christopher Knittel

George P. Shultz Professor of Applied Economics, Sloan School of Management

Director, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research


Consortium Members

The consortium members included:


Continuing Mobility Research at MITEI

The Mobility Systems Center, an MIT Energy Initiative Low-Carbon Energy Center, builds on the findings and research network of the Mobility of the Future study. Approaching mobility from a sociotechnical perspective, the Center identifies key challenges, investigates potential trends, and analyzes the societal, environmental, and economic impacts of emerging technologies on the movement of people and goods.

Learn more about the Center, current research projects, and how to join.