Washington, D.C.

UMR Index


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Score: 63.7%

Sustainable Mobility



Score: 53.8%

Public Transit


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Score: 57.0%

Population 5.5 million
Surface area (km2) 3,644
Population-density (people/km2) 1,507
GDP per capita ($) 110,204
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What Washington, D.C. Does Well in Urban Mobility

Road infrastructure is strong in Washington, D.C., with residents enjoying well-connected and maintained roads and a robust traffic management system. The city is enhancing its traffic management systems even further. It’s currently converting its streetlights to LED technology that allows remote monitoring and control to improve traffic safety and ensure timely street light repairs.

The city’s public transit network caters to commuters by offering affordable prices and convenient connections to other modes. The latter will be bolstered even further: Washington’s near-term plans to expand last-mile connectivity and optimize service schedules to allow for seamless transfers will help its strong multimodal offerings.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores

Challenges and Opportunities for Washington, D.C.’s Transportation System

Despite high government investment to encourage electric vehicle (EV) usage, EV charging stations are hard to find in the city that relies heavily on cars as its main mode of transportation. However, Washington was granted nearly $17 million by the federal Department of Transportation to build more charging infrastructure over the next five years.

Active mobility, such as walking and cycling, is difficult due to the city’s large surface area and limited cycling infrastructure. Efforts are underway, as the city is undergoing construction of 20 miles of new, protected bike lines by 2024.

Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score

How Washington, D.C. Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility

Washington, D.C., along with neighboring states Maryland and Virginia, have announced plans to follow California's 2035 ban of combustion engine vehicle sales. And yet, Washington is still lagging in EV market share, as the sales share is just over half of that in San Francisco. To get closer to meeting its target of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) accounting for all new car sales by 2035, Washington can expand its existing EV incentivization and charging station installation subsidy programs to encourage more residents to choose an EV for their next car purchase. In addition, the nation's capital can plan to implement interim bans of combustion engine car sales ahead of California's schedule to become a leader in ZEV sales. Lastly, introducing low-emission zones will further discourage non-ZEV usage and purchases.

Commuters in Washington often face long public transit commute times. Encouraging residents to bring their bikes on public transit for last-mile trips while also increasing the number of stations, bus lanes, and service frequency can increase convenience and efficiency. Finally, further investments in the metro infrastructure would greatly improve connectivity for residents living near stations.

Comparative Urban Mobility Readiness Index scores