Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions

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Click Here for the Updated Electric Vehicle Comprehensive Presentation
By CATES Senior Fellow Tony Billera, September 2023

Electric Microtransit Overview Presentation for Citizens in San Diego, CA

Other Work in Progress, September 2023

Potential participants in the USDOT Thriving Communities Program, may want to incorporate consideration of a forthcoming common carrier public transit mode now experiencing multi-billion dollar levels of technical vehicle development.

By creating new partnerships, the microtransit using vans and cutaways already being deployed across America by public transit agencies can be enhanced and made more sustainable, affordable, and widely available in the future with phased implementation of driverless, automated, electric-powered robotic rides providing point-to-point service 24 hours per day, seven days per week – like private automobiles offer to those who own or have immediate access to them.

After working on vehicle automation economics and policy for the past decade, CATES is now offering to provide customized expert assistance to innovative communities seeking a modern universal mobility system operating for citizens and visitors.  Such a system begins right away with small vehicle microtransit, now operating across America by a growing number of transit agencies. It’s a good idea that “just got even better” according to a recent report from Mineta Transportation Institute written by transit professionals who led its implementation in Los Angeles.  

The Universal Mobility Team at Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions (CATES) is looking forward to providing technical assistance in support of a particular line of development for microtransit that fits well with the USDOT Thriving Communities Program. Our help would be pertinent within all three of the new Communities of Practice (COPs) being funded in 2023 through that new Program. However, Networked Communities is the most pertinent COP to the concept described here.  With international expert credentials, CATES has a specific focus on helping communities thrive by implementing a scaled up, more productive form of microtransit: On-demand, anytime-everywhere-all-trips electric-powered ride services that also incorporate a dynamic and creative level of public transit agency preparation for robotic shuttle vehicle types serving all citizens including those requiring personal assistance.

Access to affordable, on-demand, point-to-point transportation 24 hours per day seven days per week is a significant Social Determinant of Health (SDOH). A new mobility mode of automated, remotely monitored passenger vehicles is now emerging to supplement existing modes with no traveler requirement to use a car, or wait at a bus stop. Safe, affordable, environmentally friendly, electric-powered passenger mobility on city streets for all residents and visitors is becoming more feasible with every passing month with testing in many innovative jurisdictions by an industry investing billions of dollars. The CATES Universal Mobility Team can assist selected jurisdictions planning participation in the USDOT Thriving Communities Program to achieve the capacity to blaze a clear path to motorized, financially sustainable, equitable, on-demand universal mobility.

Project example: Tucson, Arizona, a development process underway: Slide deck presentation.

Now or later, email, or call 206-781-4475 to begin a discussion on our capacity for designing new universal mobility formats we can add to your Thriving Community partnership team.


Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions – CATES -- is a think tank and consultancy founded in 2012 and registered as a non-profit organization in Washington State. The principals of CATES blend research-based multidisciplinary expertise with their experience-based project management skills. Our major topic focus has always been carefully designed, sustainable, technology-based solutions for efficient, cost-effective personal travel and freight movement. CATES experts have produced thought-leading concepts supporting the development and deployment of automated electric vehicles.

Organizational capabilities that CATES experts have deployed throughout the first quarter of this century include many of those required for the capacity building phase of the USDOT Thriving Communities Program.  Specifically and appropriately for your community, the CATES Universal Mobility Team is qualified in seven out of twelve of the DOT-named specialities listed next across the specific technical topics we work in comprehensively, that is, Connected, Automated, Tailored, Electric, Shared vehicles. (another meaning for CATES) vehicles.  In the following capability areas, we know we can be helpful to communities that want to go from “Concept to Completion” per the USDOT mantra.  Quoting slide 15 of USDOT’s Thriving Communities guidance, here is where CATES is strong:

  1. Evaluating and deploying emerging transportation data and climate technology systems and software
  2. Environmental planning and analysis practices including to support transportation decarbonization, climate resilience and adaptation.
  3. Transportation planning practices to advance transformative community and data driven projects through state, metropolitan and federal transportation and community development planning processes.
  4. Identifying and responding to funding opportunities including federal discretionary grant applications
  5. Conducting project scoping, planning and pre-engineering studies, market, and other technical analysis
  6. Supplementing local staffing and workforce development capacity
  7. Establishing leadership, fellowship, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeships programs

Our Team Includes Five Deeply Experienced Senior Experts

John Niles, co-founder and executive research director of CATES, has lead university research teams as a 20-year non-resident research associate of Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. He is the co-author of the university graduate-level textbook The End of Driving: Transportation System and Public Policy Planning for Autonomous Vehicles (Elsevier, 2018). He is currently engaged in providing technical assistance to the Government of New Zealand on a new mobility incentive concept called MaaS. John is a graduate of MIT and Carnegie Mellon University and lives in Seattle.

Egils Milbergs, executive director for innovation acceleration at CATES, is also Founder and CEO of the Center for Accelerating Innovation. He focuses on geographically targeted economic development through innovative enterprises that collectively yield regional competitiveness, especially in low-income Opportunity Zones. Earlier he was Executive Director of the Washington State Economic Development Commission, implementing 18 Innovation Partnership Zones. He is currently working in Tucson, AZ on Social Determinants of Health, which include the availability of readily available mobility with or without access to a car.  Egils is a graduate of Harvard University and lives in Woodbridge, Virginia

Steve Marshall, co-founder and executive policy director of CATES, has 30 years of expert experience in energy and transportation issues, focused in recent years on connected, autonomous and electric road mobility. He serves now on the US Department of Energy’s Executive Advisory Board and recently was the Transportation Technology Partnership Manager for City of Bellevue, WA. He served earlier as chief counsel to Puget Sound Energy and then as the top policy manager at Snohomish Public Utility District. Steve is a graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Olympia, Washington.

Richard Mudge, PhD, principal economics associate at CATES, is founder and president of Compass Transportation and Technology. He has multi-decade experience with government, business, and think tank clients planning and implementing better mobility, including systems applications for congestion reduction, sustainable and productive transportation finance, and road vehicle automation. Dick is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Potomac, Maryland.

Bern Grush, principal systems design associate at CATES, is founder and executive director of the Urban Robotics Foundation. He is an innovator, speaker, and author on automated vehicles as well as parking reform and road pricing. He is a thought leader on opportunities to re-think and re-deploy urban transit in the lead-up to vehicle automation. He is the other co-author of The End of Driving. Bern is a graduate of University of Toronto and University of Waterloo and lives in Toronto.

Contact the CATES Universal Mobility Team with email to, or call 206-781-4475 to begin a discussion on our capacity for designing and implementing new mobility formats to improve your community.

Click here for CATES Senior Fellow Tony Billera's slide deck for his 50 minute educational presentation
on the importance of electric vehicles (EVs) for the global climate,
as well as covering the benefits of owning and using an EV.
Presented September 3, 2023 in Port Angeles, Washington - 16 megabyte PDF file

Earlier version presented January 27, 2022 in Port Angeles, Washington - 12 megabyte PDF file

CATES Appearances

December 17, 2019, John Niles presented "Perspectives on Vehicle Automation" to the Washington State Transportation Commission, including recommendations for steps to shift private vehicle travel to common carrier ride-hail vehicles.

October 24, 2018, in a video report by Seattle TV station KING5, John Niles describes autonomous shuttle readiness as memorialized by City Council Resolution in SeaTac, Washington,

December 2, 2016, Advanced Transportation Technologies Conference, all-day, Meydenbauer Center, downtown Bellevue.

May 19, 2016, Washington Policy Center Solutions Summit, Bellevue, WA. Steve Marshall presentation on Redefining Transit.

October 9, 2015, Advanced Transportation Technologies Conference, all-day, Mercer Island Community and Events Center. Moderated by CATES Executive Director, Steve Marshall.

Earlier Publications

John Niles wrote an essay in the New Geography blog of April 13, 2017 titled "Urban Leaders Should Plan for the Public Transit of the Future" describing the two distinct markets for automated vehicles.

John Niles was lead author of a chapter in the book Disrupting Mobility published by Springer in January  2017; click here for a direct link to a preview of the chapter titled "Transit Leap: A Deployment Path for Shared-Use Autonomous Vehicles that Supports Sustainability."

John Niles is lead author of the blog post "How NHTSA should respond to the Tesla Autopilot crash in Florida" dated July 4, 2016

A research paper  �How cities can use autonomous vehicles to increase transit ridership and reduce household vehicle ownership� co-authored by John Niles was named a runner-up for the best conference paper at the May 2016 annual Canadian Transportation Research Forum in Toronto.

CATES wrote a chapter in the well-received book from Springer, Road Vehicle Automation, published in May 2014; click on the book cover for further information from the publisher. Title of our chapter is "Synergies Between Vehicle Automation, Telematics Connectivity, and Electric Propulsion" by Steve Marshall and John Niles.

Cover image, Road Vehicle Automation

Click here for comments from the CATES reseach director about selected clippings on vehicle automation. On an award-winning ScoopIt news curation site.

Events Completed

John Niles presented a poster at the December 2015 Florida Automated Vehicle Summit in Jacksonville, Florida

John Niles presented at Puget Sound Regional Council Traffic Operations Committee on connected, automated vehicles, December 4, 2014 

Steve Marshall presentation to the Washington Future Energy Conference on November 5, 2014 about Boosting Electric Vehicle Adoption in Washington State [Click for pdf of his slides].

Video highlights from John Niles' presentation "Vehicle Automation, Challenge and Opportunities" for the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest, October 29, 2014.

Joe Rosmann spoke on "Evolution of Driverless Cars" to the Annual Meeting of Washington State Good Roads and Transportation Association, September 19, 2014 in Richland, WA [Click for full text.]

John Niles presented a paper "Connected, Automated, Zero-Emission Cars Are Essential for Improving Livable, Sustainable Communities" to the 2014 World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Detroit, Michigan, September 10, 2014. [Click for full text of paper.]

Steve Marshall presented a poster titled "Demonstrating How to Reduce Oil Consumption and Achieve Emission-Free Mobility as Connected, Automated Vehicle Travel Rises" at the TRB 2014 Automated Vehicle Symposium on July 16, 2014 in San Francisco.

John Niles presented the lunch speech at the ITS Canada Annual Conference & General Meeting, June 4, 2014, Victoria, BC [Click for full text.]

John Niles presented a poster "Working Toward Financially Sustainable Public Transit by Reducing Vehicle Operating Costs" at the TRB Road Vehicle Automation Workshop, July 16, 2013 on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, CA

September 7, 2012 Conference, "Beyond Oil: Transforming Transportation in Century 21"
Part of Seattle World's Fair Anniversary celebration. Click for Conference Summary Report.

Opening remarks at Beyond Oil Conference from Event Chairman Steve Marshall 

Video recording of Beyond Oil Conference, thanks to and Seattle Center Foundation.

Access to specific presentations (slides on split screen) available via "Content on Demand" tab below viewing window in the conference video:
As a few examples:
Amory Lovins, Chapter 3
Robert Lutz, Chapter 6
Phil Jones, WUTC, Chapter 7
Candidates for governor, Chp 8
Shelley Poticha, HUD, Chapter 9
Sec. Paula Hammond, Chapter 10
Smart Cars, Chapter 11
Self-Driving Cars, Chapter 12

>>Coverage of Beyond Oil by Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times

>>Follow up on Beyond Oil by conservation-minded law firm Graham & Dunn

>>Report on Beyond Oil by Mallory Smith in The Futurist Blog

Participants in our July 18, 2011 workshop to plan an Electric Mobility Demonstration Project, conducted jointly with Institute for Environmental Research and Education. 

Other from CATES

Automated, Connected, and Electric Vehicles An Assessment of Emerging Transportation Technologies and a Policy Roadmap for More Sustainable Transportation, December 2014.

"Automating Your Ride" by Steve Marshall, in the May/June 2013 issue of Journey, the magazine for AAA members.

 "Expanding Public Transit by Changing Its Definition" Comments of John Niles for the Puget Sound Regional Council General Assembly, April 25, 2013

Letter to Governor Jay Inslee: Steps for the Governor to Transform Transportation

CATES presentation April 18, 2011 to HUD Region 10 Administrator

Published short essays by Steve Marshall

From others

Seminal 2010 book from MIT Press: Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Mobility for the 21st Century by William J. Mitchell, Christopher E. Borroni-Bird, and Lawrence D. Burns 

"Climate Change and Transportation: Summary of Key Information," Transportation Research Circular E-C164, July 2012


Rice-Stanton Transportation Governance Reform project, 2006


End of Driving book cover

Above is the cover of the university-level text book by CATES Executive Research Director John Niles and his colleague Bern Grush at Harmonize Mobility, Inc.  Click on the picture to reach the order page at This book is well-deployed in the Puget Sound region, including University of Washington Library, Washington State DOT internal library, and Puget Sound Regional Council information center.  Free chapter summaries at

CATES -- Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions -- is a non-profit research & development organization based in Western Washington State.  Our mantra is "Research, Educate, Integrate, and Accelerate."  There are many diverse threads to integrate!

New Program of CATES: Assisting transportation organizations plan for practical, cost-effective implementation of battery-electric, vertical take-off and landing, regional urban air mobility services.

Autonomous Vehicle Project in SeaTac, Washington

City of SeaTac, Washington explored autonomous vehicle applications for community benefit with consulting assistance from CATES

Described in the June 2018 issue of Seattle Met magazine!

City of SeaTac engaged the Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions (CATES) in 2017-18 to conduct research on the viability of the City becoming a Center of Municipal Excellence in autonomous, driver-less vehicle deployment for cost-effective public benefit.

A primary recommendation of this technology application explored for short-term deployment potential is small, quiet, electric shuttles connecting light rail stations and transit centers with residential neighborhoods. Connections to community facilities such as recreation centers, schools, medical clinics could also be provided. Vehicles such as these have the potential to provide mobility that is safer, less expensive, and non-polluting compared to today's available alternatives.

CATES developed an Action Plan document that provides guidance to the City on whether and how to proceed on developing and implementing processes of learning, teaching, fundraising, and procurement of new technology applications for using high-tech autonomous vehicles to provide better mobility in the City of SeaTac. 

Active engagement and collaboration was sought with citizen and business interests, neighboring jurisdictions, Port of Seattle, King County Metro, Sound Transit, non-governmental technology or mobility providers, and others like members of the ACES Northwest Network who step forward with an interest in this topic.

All of the work in this project is consistent with and supportive of the June 7, 2017 State of Washington Executive Order 17-02 on autonomous vehicle testing and technology.

Click here for a final presentation on this project to the City of SeaTac. 

City Council voted resolution October 23, 2018 wrapping the project is posted here.

*  *  *  *

Earlier, CATES contributed to an integrated assessment (IA) of the automated, connected electric vehicle's contribution to transportation sustainability. This project was funded by the University of Michigan Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute and carried out in partnership with the Connected Vehicle Proving Center at University of Michigan - Dearborn. The public kick-off for the event was September 7, 2012 at the Beyond Oil Conference at Seattle Center with video recordings made and posted on the left hand side of this page.  The final IA report, "Automated, Connected, and Electric Vehicles: An Assessment of Emerging Transportation Technologies and a Policy Roadmap for More Sustainable Transportation" is available by clicking here.

The Puget Sound Regional Council, responsible for planning future transportation infrastructure and public services in the greater Seattle-Tacoma-Everett-Bremerton region, reports that about 80% of surface travel in the region is in private motor vehicles, a dominant market share that is forecast to continue despite investing billions in public transit. The importance of public and private policy to make private automobiles be safer and generate lower emissions of carbon and pollution gives impetus to the focus of CATES.

We are consistent in all our work with existing approved plans on issues outside of our project scope such as land use pattern/density, non-motorized transportation modes, passenger railroad modes, water ferries, and aviation.

No personal information is collected via this web site.
Copyright � 2022 Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions - CATES
Last modified: 02/01/2022 


John Niles,
Executive Research Director 

Steve Marshall,
Executive Policy Director

Egils Milbergs,
Executive Director for

Innovation Acceleration

Tony Billera, Senior Fellow

Paul Minett, Senior Associate

Joseph Rosmann,
Senior Fellow

External Links

End of Driving from Grush Niles Associates, Seattle and Toronto

Securing America's Future Energy

Ridesharing Institute

Global Telematics

Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute at University of Michigan, describing CATES project, "A Roadmap for Sustainable Transportation: Connected, Automated, and Electric Vehicle Systems" 

Western Washington Clean Cities

Program and presentations from the TRB-AUVSI Road Vehicle Automation Symposium, July 2016

Canadian Automated Vehicles Center of Excellence

Climate Solutions

Electrification Roadmap and Fleet Electrification Roadmap by Electrification Coalition.  

"Vehicle Electrification and the Smart Grid-The Supporting Role of Safety and Mobility Services" from ITS America  

Video from Google describing its self-driving car:


Insights About Telematics (Daily electronic newsletter crowd-sourced from Twitter)

Thurston Regional Planning Council Plan for Sustainable Development

Puget Sound Regional Council's sustainability project, "Growing Transit Communities: A Corridor Action Strategy for the Central Puget Sound Region"

The U.S. DOT Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

Daily computer-generated compilation of news stories "Noted by CATES" as crowd-sourced from Twitter.

The real-time status of road traffic and public transit (mostly running on  roads) is available here: 

  • For central Puget Sound regional expressway status right now, click here (links to traffic cameras).
  • City of Seattle posts traffic status here (links to traffic cameras).
  • City of Bellevue posts traffic status here (links to traffic cameras).
  • For the latest status reports on Sound Transit buses and trains, click here.
  • OneBusAway reports the locations of public transit buses around Puget Sound in real time.
  • Real-time traffic around Joint Base Lewis McChord is here.