The Future of Mobility

Technology development is often driven by predictions and expectations. This holds in particular for mobility: scenarios combining explorations of how people might live, work, and travel in the future with the possibilities technology might offer are constantly being produced. Since predictions and expectations connect technology to users, society and also enterprises, it is essential for engineers to be able to analyze existing scenarios and contribute to the development of new scenarios.

Predictions come in many forms: assessment reports, futuristic designs, projected benefits of new technical options, and so on. Expectations can be found in science fiction, exhibits, computer games, envisioning exercises by stakeholders, etc. This USE sequence will take predictions and expectations from all technology fields covered in the TU/e strategic area Smart Mobility (including logistics, car technology, urban transport, electric vehicles, the combustion process in cars and trucks, car-sharing and teleworking), and teach students how to assess these and how to construct their own vision of future mobility.


The future of mobility is unclear: many different trends are visible. In the Future of Mobility Exploratory Course: How to Evaluate Predictions and Forecasts, students will be informed about various possible mobility futures. Next, they will be introduced to methods for forecasting the future and get to understand the main differences and similarities of these methods. Finally, they will be offered a framework for assessing strengths and weaknesses of prediction methods from a USE perspective, and learn to apply this. This course is also part of the Elective Package Smart Mobility Design.


This USE sequence has two specialization courses:

Human Factors and Ethics of Mobility Technologies
Modern Societies rely on mobility and flexible transport infrastructure. This course looks at mobility technology from the perspective of human-technology-interaction and ethics.

Future Scenarios combine two types of assumptions. On the one side they rely upon descriptive assumptions about what is likely to happen in the future. This is often done by identifying existing trends. On the other hand scenarios are often also loaded with moral values and express not so much what is going to happen, but what people think should happen (e.g. 'sustainable mobility', 'autonomous cars'). These normative aspects of scenarios of future mobility can be driven both by psychological user preferences and moral values that people hold.

From an ethical perspective, this course analyzes the underlying values of different mobility visions - concerning transportation systems, vehicles (like car design) and road infrastructure. We will investigate visions such as Sweden's "Vizion Zero" (Safety), "Vehicle to infrastructure communication" (Safety), Google's Visions of the "autonomous self-driving car" (Comfort), and visions of "sustainable transport systems and eco-assist systems" (Sustainability).

From a psychological perspective, this course analyzes the determinants of allocation of control and of sustainable driving. More specifically, we will investigate the importance of trust and confidence in technology, and the ways in which automotive technology can become persuasive, and thereby influence its user. 

Mobility and Infrastructure

This course teaches how to analyze mobility patterns using activity-based theory. After acquiring a solid theoretical background you will improve an existing traditional scenario model on aging populations in the light of the activity-based theory. Additionally, you will learn how to assess smart solutions with respect to infrastructure projects using Societal Cost-Benefit Analysis (SCBA). This can be applied in the evaluation of public investments in transport infrastructure, teleworking, etc. This gives a decision-making tool to assess whether (or not) a public investment is beneficial for society under different kinds of assumptions.  


In The Future of Mobility Project, students combine a technical design with writing a literature review and a stakeholder analysis. Projects in recent years have included platooning, seat management, the sustainable university campus, multimodal traffic apps, P+R locations, or slow modes in metropoles like London. In this course it all comes together: you will apply the knowledge acquired in the learning line in the project of your choice.

Started the Bachelor College in 2014 or later? As part of your USE Learning Trajectory, you must participate in 5 Studium Generale activities marked with the EC logo. Important: You can start participating in these activities as soon as you enroll at TU/e.