Congressional Briefing - December 3, 2013

The Future of Mobility: Transportation 2030

traffic and skyline in Atlanta


Tuesday, December 3, 2013


11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


2168 Rayburn House Office Building (Gold Room)
Washington, D.C.


About the Briefing

What will transportation look like in the United States in the year 2030? Multiple mobility scenarios are possible in the future. Come hear how policymakers and planners can shape the future of mobility in the United States and what factors will influence the creation of the future transportation system.

The presenters, authors of a new RAND report, will illustrate two distinct scenarios for the future of mobility 17 years from now and what they'll mean for us:

Scenario 1: No Free Lunch envisions a United States in which strong regulations to reduce dependency on oil and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have led to steadily increasing oil prices. Zoning restrictions will have created greater densities in urban and suburban areas. These developments have increased the use of public transit and alternatively fueled vehicles. Road pricing will be prevalent as a source of revenues to maintain and expand the surface transportation system, and federal efforts to address climate change will have resulted in a positive effect on the economy.

Scenario 2: Fueled and Freewheeling envisions a United States with low oil prices, a booming economy, and little policy action to address climate change. Taxes will not have been raised, leaving the transportation sector underfunded, and the condition of U.S. roads and bridges will be getting worse, though the level of decline will vary greatly.

Long-term transportation planners must decide now which modes of transportation to prioritize, which investments to fund, and which threats to monitor. But in the meantime, these policymakers have to plan in the face of big future unknowns such as population growth, total miles traveled, and the price of oil.

Johanna Zmud and Peter Phleps will discuss how critical forces can coalesce to cause either of these two paths to emerge over the other, and how choices that policymakers make today will affect the future of mobility in America.

Johanna Zmud is a senior policy researcher and director of the RAND Transportation, Space, and Technology Program. She has 25 years of experience in improving and providing data, information, and analysis for policy and planning decisionmaking for both passenger and freight sectors. Primary areas of expertise include analysis of urban and long-distance travel behavior, applying behavioral insights to mobility-related policy issues, and the intersection of transportation and information and communication technologies (ICT). Currently, she is leading work on the impact of socio-demographics on travel demand in the U.S., future automobility in the BRIC countries, and scenarios of mobility in China for 2030. She chairs a Special Task Force on Data for Decisions and Performance Measures for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences and serves as a member of the National Research Council (NRC) committee on Long-Term Stewardship of Safety Data from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program.

Peter Phleps is a futurist at the Institute for Mobility Research (ifmo), a research facility of the BMW Group. He has a doctoral degree in aeronautical engineering from Technische Universität München (TUM). Before joining ifmo, he worked as a research associate at the TUM Institute of Aircraft Design, where he focused on the combination of scenario analysis and technology evaluation applied in different aspects of the air transport system. At ifmo, Phleps deals with future developments and challenges relating to mobility across all modes of transport, with automobility being only one aspect among many. On the international front, ifmo's activities focus on social science and sociopolitical, economic, and ecological issues, but also extend to cultural questions related to the key challenges facing the future of mobility.

About RAND

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND focuses on the issues that matter most, such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND operates independent of political and commercial pressures. We serve the public interest by helping lawmakers reach informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges.

View calendar of Congressional briefings View Congressional briefings by topic

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact