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Future Mobility Initiative

Interdisciplinary research, education, public service, and outreach in the field of transportation

The Future Mobility Initiative connects UT faculty and students from multiple disciplines with a growing network of industry and government partners throughout the state and beyond.

The initiative will build upon and expand the research and partnerships started by the Center for Transportation Research. Work will contribute and adapt to the rapid technological changes already underway in transportation and mobility.

Demand for mobility solutions that are increasingly autonomous and connected and that deliver safer, more secure performance is driving innovation across sectors. This initiative boldly advances the university’s status as a world-leading mobility research institution and bolsters the state’s growing reputation as a leader in the global mobility economy.

  • Explore, invent, and validate new technologies, processes, systems, and services responsive to mobility consumer and industry needs
  • Increase the supply of serial entrepreneurs to help establish new high-growth companies and attract and retain existing companies
  • Prepare current and future generations of skilled workers, providing inclusive access to education and training opportunities, allowing workers to re-skill and up-skill as the technological landscape evolves
  • Create shared R&D test beds and facilities to support developing and deploying cutting-edge mobility solutions in real-world environments
UT is a Tennessee Department of Transportation partner as well as a member of several University-Industry-Government Research partnerships addressing:

  • Lightweight High-Performance Materials
  • Electrification, including Battery Technology
  • Clean Fuels
  • Connected and Automated Vehicles
  • Smart Infrastructure
  • Safety and Security
  • Public Policy
  • Workforce Development
UT has a variety of facilities and capabilities available for external partners to collaborate on R&D projects. View the list.

Faculty Expertise

UT has longstanding faculty expertise in transportation and mobility research, including automotive, energy storage, EVs, lightweight vehicles, modeling and simulation, cybersecurity, software and systems, testbeds, and human-centered design.

Faculty span several colleges and campuses. Key faculty focused on mobility research include:

Tennessee’s Mobility Industry

Over the past two decades, the state of Tennessee has emerged as a leader in the transportation market, including EVs. In the continual movement of automaking to the Southern states, Tennessee is the undisputed hub, earning the top ranking in automotive manufacturing strength from Business Facilities magazine for five of the last ten years.


Tennessee is the epicenter of modern automotive research and production in the United States. More than 930 companies, including Nissan, General Motors, and Volkswagen, have a presence in the state. Additionally, the sector employs approximately 140,000 people, generates $3.1B in state exports (FY 2020), and supports 40 percent of EV manufacturing jobs and investment in the southeast.


The aerospace sector in Tennessee employs approximately 9,000 people and contributes about $880M to the state economy (FY 2020). Seventy aerospace and defense companies have a presence in Tennessee and are anchored by the internationally renowned US Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), the largest flight simulation facility in the world, and the neighboring UT Space Institute.