Sustainable Transportation Accessibility: A Grand Challenge for the World and MIT

February 09, 2010
John Sterman, Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management; Director, MIT System Dynamics Group; MIT Sloan School of Management

How can we design and deploy transportation systems that promote sustainable development? Today’s economy and transportation systems are unsustainable, and will not scale to a world of 9 billion people, all seeking a higher standard of living. In this seminar we’ll consider the grand challenge of transportation in the 21st century. I will argue that sustainable development requires us to shift our focus from transportation to sustainable accessibility to goods, services, and opportunity. Further, while technological innovation is necessary to meet the challenge of sustainability and development, there is no purely technical solution to the challenge. Success requires coordinated technical, economic, political and social change, integrated through a meaningful multidisciplinary, systems approach. Examples to stimulate discussion include public transport and alternative fuel vehicles.

See a copy of Prof. Sterman’s presentation, or watch the video.