THE TRANSPORTATION OPPORTUNITY
The United States transportation sector is on the verge of a major transformation. And with this transformation comes an opportunity to ensure energy efficiency is a cornerstone of mobility in the 21st century.
A confluence of new technologies, business models, and other innovations are rapidly emerging.
- More efficient vehicle types, including electric vehicles, hybrids, and highly efficient vehicles running on renewable natural gas are emerging to serve different needs, ranging from cars to buses, heavy-duty trucks and other non-road vehicles like forklifts and cranes.
- Advanced vehicle technologies, such as lightweighting, downspeed powertrains, aerodynamics, and anti-idle solutions are quickly integrating into all vehicle types.
- Automation has the potential to enhance the efficiency of vehicle use and revolutionize the economics of mobility, especially when combined with ridesharing and electrification.
- Information and communications technologies, including big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are quickly evolving to enable the dynamic integration of mobility, with positive impacts on public transportation, freight logistics, ride-hailing services, and bike-sharing.
This technological revolution allows us to reinvent mobility for a smarter, more integrated system. It is also creating an urgent need to address energy consumption in the transportation sector, as these technologies could move energy use dramatically up or down depending on how the transformation unfolds.
If the public and private sectors work together to construct a new transportation paradigm that prioritizes energy efficiency, the opportunities for positive societal impacts – reduced dependency on oil, lower household transportation costs, reduced vehicle air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, decreased traffic congestion, improved public transit systems, equality in mobility access, job growth, and American leadership in innovation – will be tremendous.