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NREL Mobility Behavioral Scientist Examines the Human Side of Transportation (Text Version)

Meet Behavioral Scientist Paty Romero-Lankao.

Photo of woman smiling.

At NREL, she spearheads a growing body of research that is spotlighting the importance of human behavior on the future of mobility and energy.

People sitting at a table and talking.

Two women standing on a city street with a bus passing by. One of the women is holding a cell phone.

Aerial view of traffic on highway, with icons representing connectivity.

How do people behave and make decisions? Why is it hard for decision makers to follow through with effective actions? Why do some technologies succeed while others fail to be embraced?

Woman standing at white board with lots of sticky notes categorized by topics. A drone-like device, wires, and a laptop are on a desk in the foreground.  

People crossing a city street.

Woman holding a cell phone while hailing a ride on city street.

These are the kinds of questions Paty’s research attempts to answer.

People sitting at a table and talking.

By examining the sociocultural, economic, and behavioral aspects of mobility and energy, the outcomes become more innovative, inclusive, and successful.

Aerial view of many people crossing a wide city street.

Aerial view of city, with a river and two bridges in the foreground and large buildings in the background.

Aerial view of highway, with icons showing connectivity.

Electric train car traveling on city road.

These factors are not only important for technology adoption and acceptance; they provide key insights to enact lasting change.

Man and woman walking and talking.

Electric sedan charging via a cord while parked in driveway.

Busy city intersection, with lots of cars, some buses, and people at crosswalks.

Understanding the most realistic options for communities, like affordable ridesharing or as-needed transportation, adds complex—yet essential—layers to consider in the challenge to decarbonize the transportation and energy sectors.  

People standing in train or bus while holding onto raised bars for balance.

Ride-share pickup sign by roadside.

Traffic at airport.

Aerial view of skyscrapers in city, with icons representing data, maps, charts, and graphic user interfaces.

Paty and her team know there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

People sitting at table and talking.

People riding a bus.

Identifying the solutions that will succeed starts with providing a palette of mobility and energy options for diverse communities across the nation.

Woman standing by side of busy city street holding cell phone.

People boarding train.

Train traveling on elevated track in city.

Aerial view of city, with neighborhood in foreground.

Only then can we create a resilient and equitable mobility future for all.

Rotating globe with continents and interconnecting lines representing connectivity.

Learn more: nrel.gov/transportation