Mobility Energy Productivity Metric Video (Text Version)

This is the text version of the Metric Quantifies Efficiency of Mobility Systems video.

[Urban traffic, with people looking at smart phones by side of road.]

Today’s travelers want to reach their destinations with minimal time, cost, and energy.

[People standing inside train at subway.]

They value convenience and efficiency.

[Public transit bus and train travel down city street. Person riding bicycle.]

But how do you measure the efficiency of a transportation system?

[People looking at computer and large display screen with map of city.]

NREL’s Mobility Energy Productivity metric does just that.

[Train traveling across bridge, with people walking and biking on the side of the road. Cityscape in background.]

The metric—called MEP for short—measures the potential to connect individuals to services and activities using various modes of transportation. In other words, it measures how efficiently connected a place is.

[Neighborhood with single-family homes adjacent to cityscape. Train travels on raised tracks next to multistory buildings.]

For example, it can quantify the number of jobs available from a given neighborhood or the relative ease of reaching a major destination such as an airport based on travel time, cost, and energy.  

[Heavy car traffic at airport. Heavy traffic on multilane highway.]

Built on the foundations of accessibility research, MEP can quantify the effectiveness of existing, emerging, and future modes in connecting people to opportunities.

[Electric sedan pulling into parking lot with vehicle charging dispenser. Vehicle driving on highway with in-road charging.]

Locations with high MEP scores have more efficient, affordable options providing access to a greater number of destinations.

[Rideshare pickup sign. Person standing by train tracks looking at smart phone. People getting off train and walking in train station. Aerial view of highway traffic during day and night.]

Results can be scaled up from a specific neighborhood to a city, region, or even an entire state.

[Many people crossing city street.]

But mobility isn’t just about moving people—it’s about moving goods as well.

[Lift carrying multiple boxes into freight truck trailer. Large boxes of freight being moved from airplane to truck bed.]

To quantify the ease of shipping goods between cities or states, researchers developed a freight MEP.

[Major port with cargo boats in water and rows of cargo containers on land. Cars and truck travel over bridges crossing the water and into the city beyond.]

It accounts for time, energy, costs, logistics, and ease of shipping goods via various modes.

[Digital screen display showing movement, color, and computer codes.]

It can also quantify the impacts of trends such as e-commerce, vehicle electrification, connected mobility, automation, and new forms of delivery …

[Electric vehicle charging nozzles. Vehicles, some with connectivity icons, travel on highway. Drone delivers package to home. Aerial view of urban setting near lake and river.]

All of which are poised to bring a paradigm shift in freight movement.

To learn more about NREL’s sustainable transportation research, visit