Mobility Glossary A brief glossary of the new mobility
AV, EV, ride-sharing, connected vehicles, smart cars, and more. Mobility is a fast-moving and ever-changing climate, and it's easy to get lost in the language. We'll explain the most important terms.
Today, new terminology surrounding recent mobility phenomenon and abbreviations that seem to over-simplify the original phrase pop up frequently.
The speed of which the mobility terminology is changing means that many of the new phrases become mainstream before the average Joe understands them. And, to make navigating the mobility realm even more challenging, most of these terms can't be found in Webster's Dictionary yet.
We've taken a closer look at 13 recent mobility terms and unwrapped what they mean.
13 key mobility terms
Having concluded that the million-dollar term 'mobility' deserves its own article, we picked it apart here.
Vehicles with a level of autonomy—that is, the ability to act independent of driver input—are autonomous vehicles. Autonomous Vehicles (AV) use vehicle inputs to perform driving tasks that a vehicle occupant would otherwise need to do. The technology ranges from Level 1 where a single system is automated in a car to Level 5 where no human attention or input is required.
Car-sharing is a model of short-term car rental, often in increments as low as an hour. Shared vehicles are often privately owned rather than corporately owned, unlike traditional rental cars. Often, car-sharing is one-way transportation, and the vehicle isn't required to be dropped off in the original location.
Also known as vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, Car-to-X uses a short-range wireless signal to communicate with systems around the vehicle. It may be communicating vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) like streetlights or parking structures. Implementation is almost limitless but has concentrated so far on safety and collision prevention.
In a nutshell, connected mobility is an umbrella term that covers the communication between vehicles, traffic signals, warning systems, and infrastructure. A main component of connected mobility is a centralized connection to the internet or a network. While it often includes the automotive sector, such as in self-driving cars, connected mobility extends to other areas like public transportation, cyclists, and more, too.
No, it's not a class of car smaller than a subcompact. Micromobility describes solutions for travel over short distances, including vehicles such as electric scooters, electric skateboards, shared bicycles and electric pedal-assisted bicycles. A vehicle's gross weight can't be more than 500 kilos to qualify for inclusion in the micromobility category.
Micromobility is the solution to the last- and the first-mile problem, which is the space between the station and home, or any other distance that is too close to drive, but too far to walk. Since more than half of car trips worldwide are less than 8 kilometers (5 miles), micromobility solutions can be applied broadly.
Another broad term, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), encompasses transportation solutions that lean away from personally owned mobility. It can include public transportation like a bus or subway, or more direct transportation like car-sharing and ride-hailing services.
Often used interchangeably with MaaS, multimodal mobility is the flexible usage and combination of different modes of transportation. The term refers to cars, scooters, cycling, public transportations—quite literally, the combination of two or more modes of transportation.
Ride-hailing is an easy method of door-to-door transportation that connects passengers—those 'hailing' a ride—with drivers using their personal vehicles. In this method, the passenger rides alone with the driver. Online platforms like Uber and Lyft are examples of ride-hailing services.
Shared mobility is an umbrella term that covers various transportation methods that aren't personally owned. The term shared mobility covers several modes of transportation, such as vehicles, bicycles, and scooters. It may be peer-to-peer ride-sharing or rental-style services like bike-sharing and car-sharing that are operated by private people.
Smart vehicles incorporate aspects of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate control of one or more systems. It's another term for autonomous vehicles (AV) and includes features such as adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, intelligent parking-assist systems, and driver-assist systems. Most 'smart vehicle' technologies are safety-related.
Monitoring a vehicle's location is what vehicle telematics is all about. When a vehicle's GPS and diagnostic system are integrated, Telematics can map and record the rate of travel, vehicle behaviors, and current location. When coupled with car-to-X communication, vehicle telematics unlock data required for many aspects of mobility, including ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles.