As the existing mobility paradigm approaches critical limits to growth, many parties, from automakers and logistics companies, to local and national governments have put effort in each of these areas that have produced promising contributions to the larger transformation effort, hoping to satisfy the demands of increased expectations for health, safety, and accessibility. However, none alone represented a “silver bullet,” alone capable of shifting the entire mobility system. Indeed, success in a single area of development -- autonomy, electrification, data collection and sharing -- but lacking attention to the broader system’s interconnections, interdependencies, and feedback loops, threatened to leave the system worse-off.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), representing the world’s leading automakers, logistic companies, and other private-sector mobility players, recognized the need to collaborate with cities. The mobility sector, motivated by missing out on its own Sustainable Development Goal when the 2030 Agenda was signed by UN member states in 2015, collectively came together shortly thereafter to define sustainable mobility as safe, efficient, clean, and accessible for all.
Omplexity was invited to create a systems map and facilitate workshops that brought together private, public, and third sector system stakeholders of a given city. Omplexity team surveyed a range of reports from sector initiatives and interviewed the world’s leading experts in electrification, mobility and health, informal sector integration, city mobility planning, and many more. All of these inputs were synthesized into the systems map, which was intended to highlight not only the most important elements in the system, but also identify key sources of dynamic feedback-- suggestions as to where there might be leverage in the system by stimulating communication among stakeholders.
A theory of systems change map identifies the key growth dynamics -- the virtuous cycles -- that need to be cultivated in order that the system can make a paradigm shift beyond the status quo. These, as well as the balancing loops that may limit change, can point us to potential leverage points.