What is Mobility Management?

White flowers against city environment, blurred bicyclist and pedestrians

In short: Mobility management can be broadly defined as creating and managing mobility options, at both the systemic and system-to-customer levels, to improve the reach, efficiency, and affordability of public transportation services.

A bit longer explanation: Mobility management is an approach to designing and delivering transportation services that starts and ends with the customer. It begins with a community vision in which the entire transportation network—public transit, private operators, cycling and walking, volunteer drivers, and others—works together with customers, planners, and stakeholders to deliver the transportation options that best meet the community's needs.

Mobility management

  • encourages innovation and flexibility to reach the "right fit" solution for customers
  • plans for sustainability
  • strives for easy information and referral to assist customers in learning about and using services
  • continually incorporates customer feedback as services are evaluated and adjusted

Here are some key roles for mobility management professionals:

Understand and Advocate. Mobility management begins and ends with a laser focus on transportation's many customer groups: current and potential riders; employers, economic development groups, and local business associations; human service agencies and their clients; taxpayers and other funders; and local governments. To effectively plan a responsive and sustainable transportation network for all these customers, empathy and an unbiased understanding of their needs, environment, and goals is essential. And, the more we share our understanding of customers with our partners, the more we can bring others to support the work of improving mobility options. Transportation is integral to almost all activities that take place within a community. The ability of people to reach needed destinations impacts the viability of businesses, health and human services, economic development, local government, and more. Being able to articulate this relationship between transportation and success in other sectors is an important step in strengthening support for community transportation options.

Convene and Facilitate. Mobility management practitioners cultivate partnerships and create or join collaborative efforts that include transportation providers, planners, and other community stakeholders. Many also take the lead in facilitating teams, meetings, public engagement sessions, and other forums.

Design and Plan. A principle goal of mobility management is to design local and regional solutions customized to fit the community's needs, resources, and vision. Practitioners of mobility management embrace both tried-and-true offerings and innovative solutions.

Launch and Sustain. When a mobility management practitioner—whether an individual or an agency—and partners have designed a new service or extension of a service, there are several steps they can take to ensure its launch is successful and sustainable:

  1. Test assumptions about what parts will work and why
  2. Re-examine, yet again, the service's desirability, feasibility, and viability
  3. Begin with a limited launch, testing a small-scale version of the service in real time, and solicit feedback from a small group of end users
  4. Modify the service based on feedback, and when satisfied, scale up to a full service
  5. Plan for sustainability of the service. Federal funding for transportation services is designed as seed money, and although an important source, is rarely the only source of funding for any service. Other monetary sources include the designated portion of local match money, plus a blend of private and other public funds.

Inform and Connect. All mobility management activities point toward one goal: connecting customers to the transportation options that are most responsive to their needs. Mobility management practitioners excel at staying informed about existing community transportation services, sharing that knowledge with customers, and helping customers connect the dots in using all appropriate services.

Successful Mobility Management Practices for Improving Transportation Services in Small Urban and Rural Areas (NCHRP 20-65/Task 68; January 2018). Discusses mobility management services offered in communities, and provides specific examples and tools that can be used to establish, improve, or expand a mobility management program.


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