Mobility shapes our lives. How we get around - on foot, by car, the Q-line or in the air - has become an important discussion not only in the fields of engineering and computer science, but also in disciplines such as varied as education, health, social sciences, business and law. There has never been a better time to focus on mobility. Autonomous vehicle technology presents new opportunities and challenges to automobile manufacturing, infrastructure engineering and policy creation. While job postings in the autonomous vehicle sector have increased by 833% over the last four years, mobility challenges are not limited to autonomy. Social connectivity is a part of our "mobile lives", and we need multi-disciplinary perspectives to help answer questions about how cities become "smarter", how changes in mobility enhance our access to health and shape healthy behaviors, how privacy and security issues shape who has access to data on our mobile lives, how new and emerging industries (like electric scooters, robotaxi, driverless delivery) impact our safety as pedestrians and road users, and how we might utilize mobility technologies to shape more just, inclusive, and accessible societies.
As a premier, urban research university, Wayne State University (WSU) is uniquely situated to address mobility challenges at all levels. We are already hard at work. Our engineering researchers and designers lead the way in advancing automotive technology, and our urban planning experts help solve the unique mobility concerns facing major cities. Alumni from the Mike Ilitch School of Business are embedded throughout the automotive industry, and students and faculty in our health-related disciplines are committed to keeping drivers and pedestrians safe. Faculty in the arts, humanities, and social sciences are shedding new light on the histories and cultures of mobility, building bridges between community groups, government agencies, and academic networks in Detroit and around the world. WSU legal scholars help navigate the ethical and regulatory concerns that accompany autonomous vehicle technology. Our Detroit location allows us to foster industry and community partnerships that will revolutionize the marketplace locally, nationally, and globally. In this moment, the opportunities and challenges related to mobility have taken on new significance, which will demand creative, multidisciplinary approaches in research, teaching, and service.
The mission of the Wayne Mobility Initiative is to promote coordination, collaboration, and innovation across Wayne State University to create a comprehensive, interdisciplinary mobility initiative. The vision is to improve quality of life for individuals and communities through excellence in mobility-related research, teaching, and service. We plan to accomplish this vision through coordination, collaboration, and innovation. Coordination will include an inventory of individuals active in mobility-related research, teaching, or service on campus. Collaboration will be promoted through the exploration of interdisciplinary partnerships, encouraged through town-hall meetings and summits. Innovation will be accomplished by developing and cultivating new mobility ideas through student competitions, K-12 outreach, and the exploration of external grant opportunities.