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New Mobility: How NextEnergy and SMART are driving the conversation

By Posted on March 28, 2013
In today’s world, we have a diverse range of mobility needs:  we need to get to the grocery store down the street, we need to interact with customers on the other side of the world, and we need to access products and services through global supply chains. The challenge is that existing transportation options, relying heavily on single-occupancy vehicles and fossil fuels, are increasingly unable to meet our needs in an efficient, reliable and sustainable manner.

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.

Click here to learn more about New Mobility. 



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