MIT 11.S951: Decarbonizing Mobility

Instructor: Andrew Salzberg, 2019-2020 Loeb Fellow
Schedule: Tuesday-Friday, January 21-24, 9:00-1:00
Location: MIT 9-450
Credits: 3 (note, GSD students could audit the course but would not be officially enrolled or receive GSD credit)

After setting the stage in current travel, energy, and climate conditions, the course will review existing approaches to mobility decarbonization including carbon taxes, public transport investment, bike infrastructure expansion, low emission zones, car free cities, and electric vehicle mandates. Next, the course will evaluate new mobility technologies through the lens of their potential to contribute to (or delay) a zero emission mobility system, covering carshare, bikeshare, e-scooters, ridehailing, microtransit, autonomous vehicles, and passenger drones. Finally, students will be asked to consider the political feasibility of various approaches to achieve change, particularly in light of recent political changes (in the US) around a Green New Deal. Key case studies of both past successes and failures will be used to ground the course in reality.

Throughout, the course will focus on quantifying past and potential future emission reductions using a data driven approach based on the Kaya Identity, decomposing past (and potential future) emissions into their component pieces – population, levels of activity, energy intensity of transport modes, and carbon intensity of energy consumed.

The course will draw on the instructor’s network of public and private sector contacts to provide guest lecturers on key topics throughout.