Mobility Data and Models Informing Smart Cities

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Using emerging data platforms, new mobility technologies, and travel demand models (TDMs), researchers, industry, and communities seek to improve the quality of transportation while maximizing the energy efficiency, equity, and safety of transportation services. As transportation may soon reach over 30% of U.S. energy consumption and with urban areas representing an increasing proportion of the U.S. population (>80% since 2010), a critical need exists to engage in urban data science-informed approaches to enhancing mobility. The objective of this study is to explore and document how aspiring Smart Cities are using data and models to inform mobility and energy initiatives within Smart City programs and in so doing identify gaps in knowledge and processes guiding Smart City mobility investment strategies, programs, projects, and pilots. A primary focus of the Smart Cities studied was the creation of an integrated data sharing environment approach. Most of these systems are being developed in parallel with multiple new data analysis tools, while regional metropolitan planning organizations continue to slowly evolve TDMs to take into account impacts of long-term strategies for emerging mobility technologies and services. Smart City initiatives in the United States have keen interests in leveraging knowledge and research on the mobility benefits and risks of automated, connected, efficient/electric, and shared on-demand mobility services; and understanding the related energy, environmental, economic, and societal impacts of these shifts. The results serve to identify key gaps in data, knowledge, and methods required to advance energy efficient urban mobility innovation, and to enable research and analysis collaboration between Smart Cities and the U.S. Department of Energy's efforts enabling new Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation (SMART) Mobility.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages82
StatePublished - 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-70734


  • automated
  • connected
  • data and model curation
  • data visualization
  • electric
  • shared and digitally enhanced mobility
  • Smart City
  • urban infrastructure modernization


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