MobilityScore as a Site Selection Tool: Transit Screen


MobilityScore as a Site Slection Tool: TransitScreen helped Washington DC evaluate neighborhoods to attract Amazon's second headquarters in the Fall of 2017.  MobilityScore revealed neighborhoods that were rich in shared-use mobility options, as well as bus and subway service.

Community Challenge

As part of Amazon’s search for its next headquarters (Amazon HQ), more than 200 cities have submitted bids to the company showing they met Amazon’s list of priorities, including direct access to rail, air and transit.

Washington D.C. proposed four areas: Anacostia Riverfront, NoMa-Union Station, Capitol Hill East, and Shaw-Howard University.  The team used MobilityScore™ to calculate the ease of getting around without a car for each of the proposed locations, under both current service levels and as it would be with transit enhancements for Amazon. MobilityScore provides a rating up to 100  to show the richness of mobility options.


MobilityScore takes into account the availability of all mobility options: public transit, bikeshare, carshare, and ridehailing services. It uses studies about how far people are willing to walk to reach a nearby metro or bike to decide what’s included in the calculation, as well as historical data updated on a weekly basis to measure what’s truly available.

The Amazon buildout requires an initial parcel of land for Phase 1, which would then be expanded to 2,000,000 million square feet and beyond by 2027.

We began by calculating the current MobilityScore as it stands for the Phase 1 buildout, without any transportation improvements, as a benchmark. If Amazon were to come to any of these locations, however, transportation improvements could be easily made. All four of these sites are already located next to a stop on DC’s Metro, so for the sake of estimating changes we assumed the following additions:

  • A Capital Bikeshare station added directly on site, with 50 docks
  • A carshare parking space added directly on site
  • A private shuttle, modeled after the shuttles Amazon currently uses at its Seattle HQ
  • A water taxi route, if applicable (Capitol Hill East, Anacostia Riverfront)

Because MobilityScore returns a value for a specific address, the team ran every address in the area, then found the minimum, median, and highest MobilityScore for all four sites.


Insights & Results

Using this analysis, MobilityScore presents a fuller picture of all mobility (including shared-use mobility). The results showed how emerging modes of shared use mobility provide options outside of transitsheds. Results are pending. 

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