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Mobility Transformation

Today's mobility system is built around personal vehicles available for any combination of potential needs—just in case. These privately-owned, individually-driven, gas-powered vehicles sit unused 95% of the time, cost their owners over $1 trillion annually, and account for 15% of all emissions in the U.S. The fully-burdened cost of these vehicles comes to about $3 trillion per year when road construction and maintenance, public land lost to parking, health costs, and other factors are included. As city populations increase, so does pollution, traffic congestion, and pressure on infrastructure.

A mobility system reliant upon personally-owned vehicles also forces low-income Americans, on average, to spend over 50% of their earnings on transportation. Even for median-income households in the U.S., transportation is the second-highest expense.

Emerging technologies and societal trends are creating an opportunity for a new mobility future in which electrified (and eventually autonomous) vehicles operate within transit-friendly, walkable, and bikeable cities. In contrast to the current, just-in-case transportation system, mobility becomes a service, available when and where it is needed—just in time— allowing fewer vehicles to do the same job at lower cost.
The cost of mobility could be 80% lower than its cost today, unlocking $1 trillion in value for consumers, businesses, and municipalities; improving access across all levels of society; reducing congestion; and decreasing emissions by 1 gigaton per year.

After a detailed and comprehensive national search, RMI selected the City of Austin to be the Lead Implementation City for its Mobility Transformation program. RMI also selected the City of Denver as the Lead Scaling Partner City to develop and prove out a collaborative solutions development and scaling model for the program.

RMI and the cities of Austin and Denver will partner to leverage the power of emerging technology and business innovation to expand and enhance mobility options, in turn reducing congestion, decreasing costs, improving equity, enhancing safety, reducing emissions, and ensuring continued economic growth for both cities.

“RMI is adding tremendous value to the efforts of the city and our community to make it easier for people to choose how they commute where and when needed, in vehicles that are clean for the environment, while helping us prepare for leading edge technologies like driverless vehicles so our youngest, oldest and all in between can have real and better choices about how they get around.”
—Council Mobility Committee Chair Ann Kitchen, Austin

Program Projects

Interoperable Transit Data
RMI will team with transit authorities, universities, vehicle for hire companies , app developers, and others to collaboratively establish an interoperable transit data system that enables a rich variety of public and private transit modes to deliver a seamless, convenient, and cost-effective mobility experience to users.
Learn more and download the report. 

Mobility as a Service:
Mobility as a Service focuses on the greatest source of regional traffic, congestion, and emissions: commuters. RMI will team with regional employers to aggregate demand for commuting solutions, stimulate new business among mobility service providers, and streamline delivery of mobility services from providers. To help grow these commuting services into fully-fledged Mobility as a Service, the project will also create incentives that favor service-based mobility.

Fleet Electrification
RMI will team with transportation companies to drastically reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of fleets by electrifying high-mileage vehicles like taxicabs and transportation network company vehicles. We will also work with the local utilities to enable electric vehicles to improve the electricity grid with smart charging and to potentially provide other ancillary services like frequency regulation.

Autonomous Vehicles
We will help accelerate the coming wave of autonomous vehicles by ensuring that partner cities are an attractive location for technology leaders to launch commercial pilots.

Mobility-Oriented Development
We will create innovative land-use codes to encourage dense, multi-use developments that decrease the need to drive, enable alternative forms of transportation, and improve quality of life.


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