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Urban Air Mobility Glossary

Our UAM Glossary is a collaborative effort from many industry experts.

If you have suggestions of changes or new terms to be added,

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Mobility defines the ability to move and process of movement, as opposed to transportation, which defines the means of mobility. The large variety of transportation solutions and the available connective infrastructure enables individuals to move with minimal constraint.


Impact of Mobility 

Mobility signifies a means-focused concept that enables the transfer of skills and knowledge as people travel for work or education. Furthermore, mobility provides people with the opportunity to relocate, if required, for new career prospects. 


The freedom of movement or the ability to move around from one place to another has been a fundamental concept of human life.  Mobility can be considered a key enabler of developments within civilisation and new establishments. With the variety of transport solutions, humans and animals are presented with an opportunity to travel, migrate or relocate to new locations such as from city to city, or country to country. 


Without optimum transport infrastructure, movement of individuals between towns and cities would have been inefficient. Prior to transportation development, people would travel by foot using a limited number of accessible routes, which could take many hours or even days to reach the destination. Over time, modern transportation solutions and infrastructure developed to interconnect roadways, railways and airways, increasing the efficiency and ability to move between locations. 


To travel between locations, individuals are not limited to one mode of transport, rather they can travel using a combination of what is most convenient. The route and mode will often be dependent on personal needs and requirements, however having the varying options available increases mobility. 


Over time, we have experienced a change in the ways people travel, either with the routes they take or the transport options they choose. The developments in transport infrastructure and vehicles has increased the level of mobility in regions over time. There is greater connectivity with increased travel routes, such as using roads, railways, airways or sea routes. People can choose how they travel and are not limited to one form of transportation. 


The need and demand for mobility has increased over time due to the ways individuals travel. In response to the demand, developments in transportation methods enable faster, safer and more efficient travel.  Therefore, commute methods are gradually becoming more accessible,  time efficient and environmentally sustainable.


Mobility and Urban Air Mobility (UAM)  

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), including Urban Air Mobility (UAM), provides an innovative means of aerial movement between destinations. This emerging industry is set to improve connectivity between regions for transporting people and goods, as UAM infrastructure integrates with existing road and rail systems.  


There are many societal, economic and environmental benefits that can be expected due to UAM operations. The increase in connectivity would enable fluidity of movement of people and goods, while helping ease congestion produced by road transport. Furthermore, aerial mobility operations are looking to provide a means of sustainable mobility due to the vehicle design and power sources. When combined with other environmentally friendly future transportation modes, the global community will benefit from mobility that has no negative environmental effect


Sources and suggested reading

  1. Mobility - Eltis

  2. The New Meaning of Mobility - Christine Rosen

  3. The Concept of Mobility - Jstor

  4. Mobility doesn't mean the same thing as transportation - Mobility Lab

  5. Transport or Mobility: What's the difference and why does it matter - Forum for the Future

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