The transportation system is in the midst of a dramatic worldwide transformation that has the potential to impact our daily lives. Many factors are contributing to this change: overall U.S. demographics are shifting, more people are moving to cities, and connected devices are empowering consumers with more choices and on-demand services. The arrival of new technologies, such as connected and automated vehicles, and the rise of the shared-economy, including car-sharing and ride-hailing, have the potential to provide new, low-cost, mobility options.
Dramatic Energy Impacts
These new transportation technologies have the potential to provide improvements in safety, affordability, and accessibility to the American people. However, they also present challenges that must be understood. A recent study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) indicates that the future impact of new mobility systems, including connected and automated vehicles, could range from a 60% decrease in overall transportation energy to a 200% increase.
Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Research
To maximize the advantages of emerging disruptive technologies, such as connected and autonomous vehicles, VTO launched Energy Efficient Mobility Systems (EEMS). This comprehensive research program aims to identify and make full use of energy efficiency opportunities of advanced vehicle technologies and infrastructure, its interactions with existing infrastructure, and improved mobility of people and goods.
Current Mobility Projects
New recently announced “living lab” projects in Washington, Texas and New York are integrating smart mobility technologies in a holistic approach to the movement of people and/or goods that maximize energy efficiency. These projects will test new ideas, collect data, and inform research on energy efficient transportation technologies and systems, creating an essential feedback mechanism to the EEMS research program.
In addition, three EEMS projects will conduct research that evaluates energy savings benefits from connected and automated vehicles. These projects will lead to the creation of new software, controls, and technologies that use connectivity and automation to improve vehicle efficiency and analyze the system-wide energy opportunities available through connectivity and automation combined with shared mobility.