Center for Sustainable Mobility

We’re improving sustainable mobility systems, finding new ways to reduce emissions, and exploring how smart cities can transform how people travel.

Transportation alone accounts for more than 25% of carbon dioxide emissions globally. Its impact is most visible within the urban environment. That’s why clean energy-powered public transport, electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations, or dedicated bicycle lanes are increasingly common in cities across the globe.

At the Center for Sustainable Mobility (CSM), we’re focused on what comes next for our cities. We conduct advanced research to discover the technologies and processes that will drive the next generation of sustainable mobility.

It’s not just about vehicles, but how all mobility technologies work together. Our researchers are discovering ways to digitally connect people, their vehicles, and a city’s larger transportation infrastructure to maximize energy efficiency and traffic flow. Data generated by hardware like Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, the global positioning system (GPS), visual street-level tracking, and many others can work together to create a smart transport system, improving the safety and sustainability of our vehicles and cities.

CSM was established in 2006 as part of a major grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to assess the environmental and economic impacts of different alternative fuel and propulsion technologies on the U.S. public transportation system. Today, CSM remains an advanced research and development center. From fleet logistics for fuel efficiency and vehicle-health monitoring for predictive maintenance to fuel-cell propulsion and electric-vehicle (EV) charging technologies, the reach and impact of CSM projects aims both to improve existing transportation infrastructures and transform the face of modern mobility altogether.

CSM houses an engine dynamometer equipped to handle a variety of alternative fuel technologies, a full chassis dynamometer, an EV propulsion lab, and a motion-based vehicle simulator that provides an immersive and high-precision testing environment to study driver behavior. CSM also has five EV charging stations, with capacity for nine vehicles, which can be monitored to study EV use, charge rates, and energy-demand dynamics. Beyond these tools, CSM also maintains a team of experienced engineers equipped to leverage both basic research capabilities for new advanced technology development, and years of industry experience in applied technology and systems design, evaluation, and demonstration. With expertise in areas ranging from life-cycle design strategies to integrated systems management, CSM is able to address a diverse array of challenges facing the advancement of sustainable mobility.

CSM partners with industry-leading companies, local and state governments, and federal agencies to lead initiatives in comprehensive research, applied development, testing, and field implementation. From fundamental research in solid-oxide fuel cells for the U.S. Office of Naval Research to implementing smart logistics to improve the operational efficiency of a local urban public transit system, CSM projects cover a broad spectrum of technologies and application areas. This flexibility, versatility, and breadth of expertise has made CSM a collaborator of choice for modernizing existing transportation systems and developing new sustainable transportation technologies.

As the U.S. transitions away from oil, a robust and sustainable mobility infrastructure will require new, clean mobility technologies and non-traditional fuel systems. Each will, in turn, demand complementary technologies that will vary with vehicle size, purpose, and travel distance. In this pursuit, CSM works with sponsors focused on the development and advancement of sustainable mobility technologies that minimize environmental impact, maximize economic value, and satisfy long-term uncertainties about energy security.

Research Areas

Vehicle monitoring

Fleet logistics

Life-cycle management

Sustainable transportation

Predictive maintenance

Smart transportation