The transition to digital mobility — the diffusion of digital technology into every transportation product and service, including autonomous vehicles — will impact at least 9.5 million people already working in transportation-related occupations, according to a new Brookings report.
Why it matters: Every week brings announcements around technology breakthroughs, capital infusions and new consumer-facing services. But that news often distracts from a pressing need to develop the workforce that will create, manage and maintain AVs, in addition to overseeing the digital services and built environment around them.
Reality check: The pool of workers who will be affected by digital mobility — from professional drivers to employees in the motor vehicle and transportation support industries — is bigger than sizable sectors like finance, real estate and administrative services.
- And that's without counting the many people working in the computing and telecommunications industries on the R&D that will power new transportation technologies.
- Critically, the transportation industry represents a core component of work in every state — not just those that manufacture vehicles or have a higher proportion of truck drivers. No state employs less than 5% of its workforce in mobility-related occupations.
The bottom line: AVs and digital mobility platforms are coming to market fast. Preparing the workforce for them will require partnerships among cities and states, educational institutions, civic organizations and private employers — and a clearer understanding of the jobs and skills that will be most in demand.
Adie Tomer is a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program and leads its Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative.