Transportation System Efficiency

Reliable, affordable, and safe transportation connects everyone to the things they need: jobs, goods, healthcare, education, community, and recreation. Today, transportation represents 28% of annual energy use in the United States and more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. On-road vehicles account for more than 82% of all transportation energy use. Our transportation systems are interconnected, multimodal networks working together to move people and goods. Factors such as population trends, new technologies, shifting labor models, economic forces, changing priorities of land use, and changing climate are reshaping these systems. Accommodating these shifts equitably and sustainably requires thorough investigation of all the interconnected pieces of our transportation system and assessment of how those pieces can be optimized for energy efficiency, time efficiency, carbon reduction, or other priorities.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficient Mobility Systems (EEMS) Program in the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) supports VTO's mission to improve transportation energy efficiency through low-cost, secure, and clean energy technologies. EEMS conducts early-stage research and development at the vehicle, traveler, and system levels, creating knowledge, insights, tools, and technology solutions that increase convenience and efficiency. Transportation planners and decision makers can use EEMS tools and strategies to improve local mobility and ensure changes in our transportation systems are equitable and sustainable by improving accessibility, energy efficiency, convenience, and affordability.

The following sections describe some of the mobility options and deployment strategies that can impact the efficiency and effectiveness of our transportation system as it moves people and goods.

Ridesharing and Carsharing 

Learn how ridesharing and carsharing can impact transportation efficiency in your community.

Public Transportation 

Discover how public transportation can increase mobility.

Active Transportation and Micromobility 

Find ways to help people save money and improve their health through active transit and micromobility options, such as biking, walking, and shared electric scooters and bicycles.

Freight and Last-Mile Delivery 

Explore how the freight movement landscape has evolved in recent years due to the introduction of new trends in e-commerce, electrification, and the gig economy.

Integrating Travel Across Modes 

Explore how multiple modes of transportation can be combined to reduce transportation costs and improve mobility and energy efficiency for the movement of people and goods.

Workforce Mobility 

Learn how commuter benefits packages, telework, and employer-coordinated rideshare can help employees reduce their transportation impacts.

Intelligent Transportation System Technologies 

Understand how connected and automated vehicles, automated mobility districts, on demand transportation, green routing, and traffic signal control can improve energy efficiency and environmental impact of current transportation systems.