Prospects for future mobility

Society, lifestyles and technologies are constantly changing. Every now and then incremental developments encounter radical social processes, cultural developments and technological innovations. Our way of mobility reflects these trends and shapes their development at the same time. One example is the rise of smartphones and high-speed internet, which has enabled the rapid growth of sharing services and integrated mobility. In turn, the forms of mobility influence and shape the lifestyles of the young and possibly future generations.

The future forms of mobility are defined by the way we design our cities and regions, the impulses and restrictions of social, ecological and economic developments, technical possibilities as well as dominant cultural trends. By working on technological and organizational innovations, Fraunhofer People Mobility strives to play an active role in shaping the development opportunities for future-proof and sustainable mobility.

Strategies for a climate-neutral future

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Technical advances in fuels and drives are offset by the steady growth in traffic. The mobility of persons and goods is an important economic factor that has to be maintained. Strategies to meet climate, energy and environmental objectives are correspondingly complex and multilayered.

For this purpose, Fraunhofer People Mobility develops scenarios, roadmaps and analyses to support policy makers and the transport sector.


Project examples:

LivingRAIL (project page, Fraunhofer ISI)  – system analysis, vision and roadmaps for strategic railway planning in the European Union until 2050 (2012-2015).

Concepts of electric mobility (project page, Fraunhofer ISI, GER)  – project commissioned by the German Bundestag to review, supplement and summarize concepts for electric mobility and their significance for the economy, society and the environment.

Approaches for forming strategies and forecasting technologies

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Decisions about how to design mobility in the future have long-lasting consequences. Just like the car-friendly city in the 1960s to 1980s, »green« development will have a huge impact on what our cities look like in the next decades. Some investments in transport infrastructure today will still be around in 100 years time. This is why decisions need a solid and structured basis.

The partners in the Fraunhofer Transport Alliance use methods like visioning, forecasting and roadmapping to develop and improve flexible ways of forecasting the future that can be used for many applications:

  • Visioning refers to a series of methods for generating consistent visions of the future. These are particularly useful to illustrate the goal of political or entrepreneurial actions to all those involved.
  • Forecasting starts in the present and creates scenarios of future developments using technological, organizational or political options for actions. These can be formed and analyzed qualitatively using scenario techniques or quantitatively using simulation models.
  • Roadmapping combines the present with a vision of the future by setting up and linking driving forces with barriers, development steps and measures. This methodology derives from business practice and forms a continuous process of  target control and correction.

All the methods of futures research can be combined with methods of traffic modelling, technology assessment or market research and can be used for business as well as economic issues.


Project examples:

LowCarb-RFC – climate-neutral goods transport in Europe (project page, Fraunhofer ISI, GER) – strategic climate research in the field of highly polluted freight corridors in Europe on behalf of the Stiftung Mercator in Essen.

Mobilitäts- und Kraftstoffstrategie II (MKS II) (Fraunhofer ISI / IML, GER) – on behalf of the BMVI, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is cooperating with scientific and consulting partners to provide the accompanying research for the Mobility and Fuels Strategy. Alongside individual studies of selected issues, an overall strategy is developed on the use of alternative energies and new forms of mobility with a long-term perspective.

LivingRAIL (project page, Fraunhofer ISI) - system analysis, vision and roadmaps for strategic railway planning in the European Union until 2050 (2012-2015).

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Vehicle fleets usually consist of a large number of vehicles. This means it is possible to control and influence a large number of vehicles systematically, which holds great potentials regarding costs, the environment and new mobility models. Fleet managers benefit from the implementation of new mobility business models as well as from optimized costs. Furthermore, besides the use of alternative drive technologies like electric engines, new models like corporate car-sharing can be applied. In corporate car-sharing schemes, vehicles are no longer assigned to particular individuals or departments, but can be used equally by all the employees within a company. In this manner, vehicle fleets can act as a trendsetter for innovative technologies and concepts. Besides the optimization of costs and new mobility models, the optimization of Big Data is playing an increasingly important role. Certain information extracted from large datasets enables a better assessment of needs as well as optimized operational planning which can contribute to lowering costs.

Fraunhofer People Mobility identifies and analyzes important trends and works on future developments in order to be able to recommend suitable actions to institutions like ministries, associations or companies.

Project examples:

How will the fleet market develop up to 2020? (project page, Fraunhofer IML, GER) – study of future developments and trends in the fleet market commissioned by the Verband markenunabhängiger Fuhrparkmanagementgesellschaften e.V.

Police mobility 2025 (project page, Fraunhofer IML) – study commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior and Sport in Lower Saxony to identify relevant trends for police vehicle fleets.