The greatest wave of mass mobility is yet to come, carrying with it the potential for economic, and ecological advancement- or disaster-on a global scale. To address the grand challenge of future mobility, MIT researchers have launched Transportation@MIT, a partnership of MIT’s School of Engineering, the Sloan School of Management and the School of Architecture and Planning.  Representing 15 departments, our team of over 240 faculty and research staff identified themselves as already engaged in over $20 million of transportation-related research annually.  

The need for mobility is fundamental: from the vehicles we drive, to the public transit systems that deliver us from one place to another, to the enterprises that keep food, fuel, and the materials of daily life flowing. Many of our transportation needs, however, are currently met with vehicles, systems, institutions and assumptions that date back a century or more. New information, communications, and decision technologies, and more energy efficient and environmentally friendly modes of transportation are needed.  

Our mission is to educate students and advance knowledge for the development and implementation of a sustainable transportation and accessibility system for the betterment of humankind and the Earth’s ecosystems. 

To progress beyond our current strengths in transportation, our ultimate goals focus on:

  • Educating scholars who understand the strategic value of their work in context of broader problem
  • Educating change agents who leave MIT and populate government, industry, academia leadership roles.
  • Setting national, global research agendas to address transportation challenges
  • Providing solutions to real world problems in transportation systems


Coordinated across the Institute, transportation research and education will be effective in forming a whole that is greater than the sum of the individual parts.  This will enable MIT to make more significant contributions to one of society’s grand challenges:

  • To provide access to the goods, services, and opportunities that enable human development while preserving and restoring the environment in a socially and economically equitable manner. 

The main components of this grand challenge are:

  • Accessibility and economic impacts in the developing world
  • Modernization, infrastructure renewal and user behavioral changes in the developed world
  • Environmental impacts (energy, emissions, noise)
  • System efficiency and congestion
  • Safety

Strategic Focus Areas

We have identified four main focus areas for our efforts:

  • Research
    To inspire, fund and execute multi-disciplinary research which sculpts new sustainable transportation and accessibility paradigms for the US, other developed countries and developing worlds.
  • Education
    To provide innovative transportation education and a vibrant intellectual community which prepares students from a variety of disciplines for careers in academia, industry and government.
  • Interactions
    To effectively engage and communicate with faculty, staff, students, labs, centers, etc. at the Institute as well as external colleagues and organizations in academia, industry and government.  
  • Leadership
    To have MIT recognized as the world leader for transportation research, education, technology and strategy.