So what are our options? What could be different?
On March 8, NextEnergy hosted a “Connecting Transportation and Energy Systems” event in partnership with SMART at University of Michigan to engage decision makers in dialogues around these questions. Participants from as far away as China, Brazil and India included transportation practitioners, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, software developers and investors.
Discussions focused on developing trends in mobility and how emerging technologies are enabling greater integration of software, vehicles and infrastructure – which require new R&D processes and non-traditional collaborations to develop competitive products and services. Participants’ deep knowledge about transportation and energy issues led to interesting cross-sector, global and thought-provoking conversations around advancing the New Mobility industry, with focus on:
- Broader ways to bring Information & Communications Technology (ICT) and big data into transportation and energy
- Opportunities in new infrastructure to support changing urban design and city needs
- Scaling new service models such as peer-to-peer and fractional use
The general takeaway was that disruptive change isn’t always pleasant or easy, but it somehow finds a way to be realized. We need to come to consensus across the New Mobility industry about how to drive this change rather than be reactive to it.
Transportation, and the industry that will supply it, are at a tipping point and there is an appetite for more dialogue, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration among entrepreneurs, big business, and city leaders. Effective information and communication tools are needed in addition to regular convening, to better connect and nurture emerging enterprises and the industry as a whole.