NLC Looks at The Future of Mobility in Cities


A new report released today from the National League of Cities (NLC) explores trends in mobility and technology in cities. The report finds widening gaps between innovation in the private sector, the expressed preferences of citizens and the visions of city planners regarding transportation investment. The mobility environment in cities is rapidly shifting—primarily due to technology—and this will impact cities’ future land-use decision-making, as well as infrastructure planning.

Specifically, a majority of cities do not have concentrated efforts to prepare for new transportation innovations. Though half of the cities surveyed have explicit plans for new highway and infrastructure construction and maintenance, the majority of cities are not taking into account the effect of driverless technology or private transportation network companies.

The report forecasts new transportation realities on two time horizons – between now and 2020, and between 2020 and 2030. In those predictions, authors suggest that more states will establish more infrastructure banks between now and 2020, this will lead to an increase in public-private partnerships for mobility projects. Over the long haul, other financing options will come into play as transportation needs change.

Report authors suggest that driverless cars will also become more prevalent in the next five years and beyond, creating new types of transportation networks involving public, private, and even frieght transportation.

“Our collective thoughts on the future of transportation have moved from Deloreans to driverless cars in what seems like the blink of an eye,” said Brooks Rainwater, director, NLC Center for City Solutions and Applied Research. “With the mobility environment rapidly changing, cities are central and leading the effort toward better, more seamless and equitable transportation systems.”

The full report is available here.