Urban Mobility and Innovation

Transportation in the 21st century is entering a robust phase that mirrors the early years of the automobile, when gasoline, steam and electric technology vied for market share. Although electric cars led for a while, the internal-combustion engine reached dominance by 1920, with profound effects on American city-based public transportation - which atrophied as car ownership grew. 

Today, urban transit is making a comeback, as is the electric car. Congested highways still face emission concerns, but consumers now often have the choice of light and heavy rail. Car sharing, which began as a European phenomenon, has prospered in U.S. urban centers, along with bicycle sharing, a van pooling and other options. Technology, including online reservations and stoplight coordination, makes sharing easier, and also enables more efficient transit buses and traffic flow.

Government plays a major role in shaping efficient urban transportation systems. So far, regulations have proven an effective driver in the early development of new technology. But for ultimate success, environmentally friendly options also must satisfy consumers' needs and meet economic goals. This report explores how cities are expanding their options for cleaner transportation, and how innovations and new incentives are revitalizing the sector. 

The report includes an overview of evolving transportation infrastructure, such as bike sharing and carsharing programs.  It then discusses funding innovation for cleaner cities, including federal incentives and the role of municipalities in advancing urban mobility. The report concludes with the future of hybrid and electric cars. 

This report was produced by Enterprise Holdings in coordination with Wharton's Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL)

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