SAE International Publishes Set of Definitions for Shared Mobility Terms

SAE International announces it has published new definitions for shared mobility terms in the “Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Shared Mobility and Enabling Technologies – J3163™” standard

A consequence of the ever-growing and -evolving landscape of shared mobility is the lack of standardized terms and definitions. The shared and digital mobility industry is challenged with discrepancies in use and definition of terms, which often create ambiguity and confusion for policymakers, regulatory agencies, and the broader public.

The J3163™ standard defines shared mobility as “the shared use of a vehicle, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, or other travel mode; it provides users with short-term access to a transportation mode on an as-needed basis.”The  J3163™ standard includes definitions for shared modes (e.g., carsharing, bike-sharing, ride-sourcing, etc.) and enabling technologies.

“J3163™ brings together a taxonomy and definitions for the rapidly evolving area of shared and digital mobility. A common set of definitions, which crosses business models and international boundaries, is needed,” Susan Shaheen, PhD, Co-Director, Transportation Sustainability Research Center and Adjunct Professor, UC Berkeley; and document co-sponsor of J3163™, said.

“Our collaborative work on this document revealed the need for consistent definitions to guide both policy and practice moving forward. We are committed to revisiting this document periodically to ensure that it is reflects the latest trends and understanding,” Dr. Shaheen added.

Document co-sponsor Adam Cohen, Research Associate at UC Berkley, commented that the new standard will help professionals make better decision. “J3163 highlights the importance of clear, consistent, and precise definitions that can aid sector growth by providing policy and decision makers with a greater understanding of the spectrum of shared mobility services,” Cohen said.

The “Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Shared Mobility and Enabling Technologies – J3163™” standard organizes taxonomy into six categories:
  • Travel modes (e.g. carsharing and bikesharing)
  • Mobility applications (e.g. mobility tracker apps)
  • Service models (e.g. peer-to-peer service model)
  • Operational models (e.g. station-based roundtrip)
  • Business models (e.g. business-to-business roundtrip)
  • Deprecated terms (e.g. ridesharing)
To learn more about the J3163 standard, or to purchase the document, CLICK HERE. Review copies are available to credentialed media. To request a review copy, email or call 1-724-772-8522.

The J3163 standard was developed by SAE International’s Shared and Digital Mobility Committee, which was established in September 2017. SAE International has 700 standards development technical committees and 17,000 technical professional volunteers from countries around the world. They serve every aspect of industry from vehicle design and integration to build, manufacture, operate, and maintain; and they address critical issues on everything from fuel to weather conditions, materials to electronics, engine power to energy mandates.

For more information on SAE International’s Shared and Digital Mobility portfolio, please visit

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 127,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

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