TEMPO: Transportation Energy & Mobility Pathway Options Model

TEMPO logo

The Transportation Energy & Mobility Pathway Options (TEMPO™) model is an all-inclusive transportation demand model that covers the entire United States.

Researchers use the TEMPO model to explore pathway options for producing long-term scenarios that reach strategic transportation-energy-environment objectives and to assess synergies with energy supply. 

TEMPO characterizes opportunities for existing and future fuels, technologies, and business models across transportation sub-sectors and segments considering:

  • Dynamic passenger/freight demand
  • Technology adoption and vehicle ownership decisions
  • Mode choice
  • Refueling infrastructure
  • Heterogenous multi-day mobility
  • Travel requirements across different consumer segments.

On top of capturing mobility details for different consumers and applications, TEMPO's implicit hourly temporal resolution allows for generating time-resolved energy use profiles to assess multi-sectoral integration aspects.

To learn more about what TEMPO does, read this NREL fact sheet: Exploring the Future of Mobility: Transportation Energy and Mobility Pathway Options Model.

A scheme of TEMPO showing the pathway options using technology attributes, transportation service demand, and mode choice to determine results aggregation and system outcomes.

Illustration of the TEMPO model

Current and anticipated changes in transportation technologies, mode choices, and business models such as those introduced by ride-hailing services, micro-mobility solutions, and vehicle electrification are reshaping the transportation energy demand sector. However, gaps exist in current modeling frameworks to generate transformative scenarios for future transportation energy use and integration with other energy systems.

TEMPO addresses these gaps:

  • Modeling of emerging trends and novel possibilities (ownership/business models, alternative fuel vehicles, connected/automated vehicles)
  • Characterization of choice to reflect heterogeneity of decision-makers in their decision contexts (e.g. household-level choice for personal travel)
  • Sufficient spatiotemporal resolution to convey implications of choice heterogeneity for system interactions.
  • Integration across sectors, especially supply-demand integration with the electricity sector.

To learn why TEMPO is needed, read this Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews article: Future Integrated Mobility-Energy Systems: A Modeling Perspective.

TEMPO is helping to better understand:

  • Potential for radical transformations of transportation demand and its impact on energy use and emissions
  • Pathways to decarbonize the transportation sector across all travel modes and fuels
  • Opportunities for transportation technology/fuel adoption across various market segments and consumer groups
  • Interconnections with other sectors and infrastructure, particularly the electric power system.

Key Features and Capabilities

The TEMPO model has the following key features and capabilities:

  • Explores exogenous disruption and "what-if?" scenarios
  • Performs endogenous out-of-sample forecasting—extrapolating emerging trends and capturing impacts of technological breakthroughs, socioeconomics, and behavioral changes (e.g., impact of transportation network companies on transportation demand)
  • Produces time-resolved (hourly-level) energy use profiles based on individual trips, enabling interconnections with power grid (bulk and distribution) models including, for example, the ability to represent demand response and "smart" electric vehicle charging behavior respecting mobility needs
  • Offers household-level travel demand, vehicle ownership, and mode/technology choices based on heterogeneous consumer preferences considering socio-demographics (income, household composition), technology attributes (e.g., cost, travel time, comfort, safety, etc.), geography (e.g., urban, secondary cities, rural) and population-specific multi-day mobility and travel requirements
  • Features improved mode/technology choice modeling among transportation alternatives based on cost, travel time, and other attributes (e.g., comfort, safety) to assess potential mode shifts for passenger and freight movement.
  • Considers heterogeneous technology attributes and characteristics of consumers, households, and firms to estimate market segmentation and assess market potential for existing and future technologies and business models
  • Represents the role of refueling infrastructure in supporting and advancing alternative fuels
  • Incorporates non-linear trends, dynamics, and complex feedbacks that enable, reinforce, or limit technology adoption.

TEMPO Documentation

To learn how TEMPO works (validation), refer to Exploring the Future Energy-Mobility Nexus: The Transportation Energy & Mobility Pathway Options (TEMPO) Model, Transportation Research Part D (2021).

For an overview of the TEMPO model, refer to The Transportation Energy and Mobility Pathway Options (TEMPO) Model – Overview and Validation of Version 1.0, NREL Presentation (2021).


Highly Resolved Projections of Passenger Electric Vehicle Charging Loads for the Contiguous United States, NREL Technical Report (2023)

Electric Vehicle Managed Charging: Forward-Looking Estimates of Bulk Power System Value, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Decarbonizing Medium- and Heavy-Duty On-Road Vehicles: Zero-Emission Vehicles Cost Analysis, NREL Presentation (2022)

Future Integrated Mobility-Energy Systems: A Modeling Perspective, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (2020)

Exploring the Future of Mobility: Transportation Energy and Mobility Pathway Options Model, NREL Fact Sheet (2020)


Paige Jadun

Researcher, Systems Engineering