Reimagining transportation in the United States could unlock $1 trillion in annual savings for consumers, reduce the cost of driving from $0.59 to $0.15 per mile, and largely eliminate the two billion barrels of oil and 1.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide that personal vehicles consume and produce each year, the Rocky Mountain Institute reports.
“Today’s vehicles are overdesigned, underutilized, underloaded, inefficient, polluting, and—thanks to the drivers behind the wheel—dangerous,” write RMI authors Jonathan Walker, Greg Rucks, and Jerry Weiland.
“The average personal vehicle sits idle (i.e., parked) for 95% of its life. When we do drive our mostly parked cars, we tend to drive alone (more than 75% of American commuters are solo drivers) even though our vehicles are designed for four, five, or more occupants (empty third-row seat, anyone?).”
Meanwhile, transit is underutilized, creating a dependence on taxpayer subsidies for the only form of transportation that works for people who can’t afford cars.
The five elements of the coming “mobility revolution,” RMI says, are multimodal transportation, mobility on demand, automated vehicles, purpose-designed vehicles, and mobility-friendly cities that are designed for people first. “Today’s U.S. cities have evolved largely around the personal vehicle,” Walker, Rucks, and Weiland write. But “a city with mobility on demand (MoD) delivered by a connected, automated fleet of purpose-designed vehicles can be redesigned to save money, reduce travel distances, and improve quality of life.”