Future of Urban and Autonomous Mobility

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This project brings together government and business leaders to accelerate the implementation of autonomous and shared-vehicle fleets to address urban mobility challenges, identify gaps in current governance structures and pilot new policy frameworks and protocols.

In 2017, the project facilitated the launch of autonomous vehicle testing on the streets of Boston. In addition, the project completed a consumer impact study and citywide traffic simulation analysis to further help identify the central risks and opportunities to advancing autonomous mobility.

The findings from the project’s preliminary research conducted with the City of Boston suggest that autonomous vehicles have significant potential to reduce congestion and improve mobility access in underserved areas, but that policy strategies such as occupancy-based pricing and new street design methodologies will be critical to prevent increases in congestion and preserve public transport ridership in the dense urban core. Moving forward, the project will address key governance gaps relating to the deployment of autonomous vehicle technologies and focus on piloting policy frameworks.

In 2018, the project will continue creating impact by:
- Developing a partnership with an additional city (or cities) and leveraging learnings from the Boston autonomous vehicle pilot
- Developing a prototype mobility platform and exploring a third party data aggregator
- Launching the New Mobility Coalition, a group of business and NGO leaders who will develop a shared vision and policy recommendations for new mobility (emphasizing transitions to autonomous, electric and shared vehicle fleets)
- Building CityWeb, a knowledge platform on the Forum’s online collaboration tool, TopLink, that will enable best practice exchanges and connect city transportation officials with our network of executives
- Connecting with emerging autonomous modes of transport

Autonomous and Urban Mobility is now based at the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco, though still part of Shaping the Future of Mobility System Initiative.

For more information on project findings, please see Reshaping Urban Mobility with Autonomous Vehicles Lessons from the City of Boston.


As a logical consequence, the next phase will engage a city in a multi-year transportation plan to help incorporate autonomous technology and advise the city on a pilot for autonomous vehicles on city roads with consumers. The aim is to catalyze global momentum of the roll-out of self-driving vehicles and leveraging safety, environmental and economic benefits of a ground-breaking technology and business model transformation. 
The city should be selected submitting a vision for autonomy and the potential commitment to execute a pilot on the ground. 

Key objectives of the project are to:

  • Understand key challenges, transportation dynamics, planning process, involvement of citizens, customer segmentation, etc. in the selected city; 

  • Understand which operating model of self-driving vehicles will be most suitable for the selected city, both from a planner (city/national authority) and citizen perspective;

  • Develop a multi-year transportation plan incorporating a pilot on self-driving vehicles for a selected city; 

  • Leverage key learnings from the pilot from technological and business model point of view, consumer insights, business opportunities and share these with city and industry stakeholders;