The Future of Mobility
Kyle Shelton
Kyle Shelton,
CTS Director

What’s next in transportation? CTS and researchers at the University of Minnesota are working to find out. At CTS, we lay the foundation for transportation systems that are sustainable, serve the needs of all users, support a strong economy, and improve our collective quality of life. To fulfill this vision, we look forward constantly—anticipating and shaping the future of mobility. 

This Future of Mobility series highlights the perspectives of leading U of M researchers and national experts. In 18 articles, the authors scan the horizon and reflect on critical transportation topics ranging from advanced air mobility to rural transportation, from automated vehicles to accessibility and equity for users. The future of transportation will not be found in a single mode or mobility solution. Instead, it will be a complex, interconnected set of practices and technologies, and this series brings them together in one place.

Much of this future will emerge from cutting-edge research and evolve from new innovations. Other pieces will be simple improvements to our existing systems (think street design tweaks that make roads safer). Our mobility needs have always been served by this mix of innovation and workhorse technologies and modes. It is critical that we not only push forward on emerging technology, but that we also look to continuously evaluate and strengthen our existing systems.  

Propelling our forward gaze even further are the disruptions caused by the pandemic and the opportunities in recent federal legislation for massive transportation investments. The pandemic has tested our daily mobility practices—stressing supply chains, changing work commutes, and altering how we view and move through our communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act offer a huge window to build from the disruptions: We can improve our old systems, identify new tactics and technologies, and invest in infrastructure that will serve us for the next 20 to 30 years.

At this unique moment, it is critical that our universities and leading researchers point us to the transportation future. Discovery and knowledge—next week, next year, or a decade from now—will support our public agencies and officials, communities, engineers, and planners as they build new systems and embrace new best practices.

At this nexus of investments and focus, CTS is making mobility foremost in our work. The “Future of Mobility” serves both as the theme for this series and our work at CTS throughout 2023. We will continue to support and share learning that helps us understand where we are going and the many ways we might get there. 

CTS will also host speakers and webinars asking “What’s next?” And, most importantly, we will connect that next to where we are today—and chart a path that gets us from here to there, together.  

Kyle Shelton, CTS Director