The mobility management concept appears to have developed in the 1990s, following passage of the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) with its multi-model philosophy. At the same time, some transportation agencies were beginning to recognize that their fixed-route transit services were not a “one-size fits all” solution to community transportation needs. As a result, some forward-thinking agencies began to offer additional transportation services, such as carpool and van pooling, subscription bus services, special shuttles, and dial-a-ride services, among others.

This activity spurred interest within the industry. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) conducted research to investigate how the more creative agencies had moved beyond traditional fixed-route systems, publishing a guidebook with resources for other agencies interested in mobility management.  The report defined a “mobility manager” as a “transportation organization serving the general public that responds to and influences demands of the market by undertaking actions and supportive strategies, directly or in collaboration with others, to provide a full-range of options to the single-occupant automobile.”Activities under this early definition of mobility management were categorized into four areas:

  • Operations, such as ride sharing and assistance for volunteer and community-based transportation services,
  • Technology, for example, telecommute centers,
  • Information, such as transit telephone centers with information on all modes and providers, and
  • Land use, including efforts to encourage transit-supportive development.

The 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) legislation embraces mobility management with its inclusion as an eligible activity in FTA’s three specialized transportation programs – S. 5310, JARC and New Freedom.

Ellis, Elizabeth. "AARP." . Public Policy Institute , n.d. Web. 6 Sep 2013.