About Us

Mobility Lab is a leading U.S. voice of “transportation demand management” – moving people instead of cars – and works to create a shared national voice with clear calls to action from TDM agencies across the country.

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Mobility Lab is a research-and-development initiative for “transportation demand management – moving people instead of cars.” Based in Arlington, Virginia – which has one of the largest TDM programs in the U.S. and removes 41,000 car trips from the county’s roads each work day – Mobility Lab seeks solutions, stories, and partnerships from all over the world.

Mobility Lab is funded by Arlington County (Virginia) Commuter Services, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

One of Mobility Lab’s primary roles as a start-up organization is to measure the impacts of TDM services in Arlington County, Virginia – frequently cited as a leader in the industry. Third-party research shows that the TDM work that Arlington does has been very successful, even though TDM investment pales in comparison to the dollars required to build roadways. TDM outreach work throughout the county helps shift more than 40,000 car trips each work day from solo-driven cars to some other forms of transportation. That’s roughly the equivalent of the number of vehicles on six lanes of I-66 and I-95 during the three-hour morning rush hour. Thus TDM cost-effectively supports the investment the county has made in its land-use plan and transportation infrastructure, resulting in better use of Arlington’s transportation system.

Mobility Lab believes – through storytelling, original research, events, and strategic partnerships – we can effectively gain funding and prestige for a traditionally underfunded and little-known industry.

TDM is the flip side of infrastructure. It focuses on helping people use the infrastructure in place for transit, ridesharing, walking, biking, and telework. It is cost-effective in guiding the design of our transportation and physical infrastructure so that alternatives to driving are naturally encouraged and our systems are better balanced.

TDM thus underlies most of the important new initiatives of today: transit-oriented development, complete streets, walkable activity centers, livability and sustainability initiatives, and integrated corridor management.

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Our Mission:

Mobility Lab nurtures innovations to a fundamental requirement of human life: transportation. It is a place of collaboration, education, and continuous improvement for moving people in more healthy, efficient, and sustainable ways.

Mobility Lab is based on three pillars. Research. Collaboration. Communication:

  • Research about how Arlington’s transit-oriented development works. We are embedded within the living laboratory that is Arlington County Commuter Services. We produce and disseminate cutting-edge original transportation research that details why Arlington’s roads are amazingly free of the traffic that clogs so many urban areas.
  • Collaboration to bring about innovation. We are a convener and engager of top minds on transportation in the D.C. region, nationally, and internationally. We regularly hold online collaborations and events like Hack Days, TransportationCamp, and educational symposiums on topics ranging from sustainability to real-estate development and beyond.
  • Communication about best practices. We are a leading online source for how we can improve our lives by making better transportation choices than the ones our society has been trained to embrace. We want to share your research, as well as build a database of readable, entertaining, and usable best practices to work with an array of partners advocating for better policy and increased funding for those working in the TDM industry.
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Awards and what people are saying about Mobility Lab:

  • “Mobility Lab is such an important and model project,” says Hans Riemer, member of Montgomery County (Md.) Council.
  • “Mobility Lab is named a 2014 Constant Contact All Star for the success and consistently high click-thru rate of our Express newsletter. Only 10 percent of Constant Contact customers receive the award.
  • “Can’t get enough of Mobility Lab, such a great resource,” says Gabriel D. Ortiz, transportation demand management coordinator for Alexandria, Virginia.
  • “Michael Schade is part of Arlington, Virginia’s nationally awesome, leading voice of transportation demand management, Mobility Lab.” – Ted Eytan, MD with Kaiser Permenente Center for Total Health
  • Director Tom Fairchild and Mobility Lab chosen by the Dulles Area Transportation Association (DATA) for the Northern Virginia Transportation Partner Award in May 2014 at the DATA 28th Anniversary Celebration.
  • Mobility Lab is named a 2013 Constant Contact All-Star for consistently high open and engagement rates of the Mobility Lab Express newsletter.
  • Winner of the 2013 Association for Commuter Transportation Presidents’ Award.
  • “Mobility Lab is doing wonderful work in the D.C. area to promote and encourage transit and transportation app development,” says Sheryl Gross-Glaser, director of the Partnership for Mobility Management.
  • “Mobility Lab is an exceptional resource center for research and information about smart transportation options. By communicating often and clearly, it is helping move the needle on the effective use of transportation alternatives throughout America,” says John Martin, director of the Southeastern Institute of Research.
  • “Fostering critical thinking and new perspectives at their unconferences and shepherding cutting-edge transit arrival and departure screens, Mobility Lab is a leader in applying technically innovative ideas to the transportation industry,” says Adie Tomer of The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.
  • CaBi Trip Visualizer is called “awesome” by POLITICO Morning Transportation and application creator Michael Schade is called “inventive” by Emily Badger of The Atlantic Cities. His Side-By-Side Router was named a “Map of the Week” by Google.
  • “I’m pleased to contribute to your excellent site,” says Mobility Lab contributor and Mass Transit Magazine publisher John Hollenhorst.
  • “I just nerded out hard when I found [Mobility Lab’s] Transit Tech web page,” says Joseph Kopser, CEO of RideScout.
  • @MobilityLabTeam is a great asset & resource in our community!” says Alli Henry (@GenY4Transit)
  • LookThink says, “For any DC-area urban-planning geeks, our office is totally loving the content over at Mobility Lab’s Twitter feed.”
  • “I did it last summer and it was a lot of fun!” says Arlington County Board Member Mary Hynes about keynoting one of our regular sessions of “Lunch At the Lab.”
  • Dr. Gridlock of the Washington Post says, “Thanks for the head’s up, Mobility!” regarding our outreach for BikePlanner.org.
  • Washington Express columnist Vicky Hallett says, “Mobility Lab’s Hack Days are ‘about rolling up your sleeves, bringing your laptop and attacking specific ideas.'”
  • “I use the transit screen I set up at Mobility Lab’s Hack Day. My co-workers were so envious that they made me set up ones for different routes,” says Ben Ball in a Greater Greater Washington article about tech options in light of the demise of the NextBus DC app.
  • “You guys crunch the numbers that people like me like to spew!” – Barbara McCann, author of Completing Our Streets, Island Press.
  • Former Delaware Department of Transportation public-relations director Darrel W. Cole calls Mobility Lab a “great group!”
  • “[Mobility Lab’s regular Lunch At the Lab series is] one of the best run meetups in the area.” – Emergency-management app developer James Sweet.

Mobility Lab has served as a meeting place and the home of idea generation for:

  • Transportation Techies DC monthly “Meetups”
  • Technology-development fellowships such as the one that created TransitScreen
  • Virginia Tech and American University transportation-focused students
  • Crowdsourcing hackers for bike trip planning software and real-time transit screens
  • Fairfax County (Virginia) Connector busline executives, and
  • Roanoke (Virginia) transportation planners, to name a few.

Arlington County Commuter Services’ Results

One of Mobility Lab’s primary roles is to measure the impacts of Arlington County Commuter Services, showing that what we do works, and can be translated as a game plan for anywhere else in the world! See the latest here: Arlington County Commuter Services Performance Report FY2013 (July 2012-June 2013)

Mobility Lab tracks the actions of ACCS programs. Here are the latest numbers, updated in July 2014:


And here are some important numbers from back in Fiscal Year 2011 (July 2010 through June 2011):


dollars in sales at CommuterDirect.com and at The Commuter Store®


dollars in fare media sales at the Commuter Information Center


dollars worth of sales at The Commuter Store®


visits to CommuterPage.com® family of websites, including ArlingtonTransit.com


trips on Capital Bikeshare in year 1


transit timetables distributed


page views were logged at WashingtonAreaBikeForum.com


customers through The Commuter Store® doors


individual transactions and 986 corporate transactions processed at CommuterDirect.com.


employees reached through 661 employers by Arlington Transportation Partners


page views logged by 38,941 unique visitors at BikeArlington.com


tons of CO2 removed from the air every year


redesigned four-color Walkabouts brochures printed with updated text and maps for 18 Walkabout routes


Arlington County bike maps distributed


issues of Solutions newsletters and 1,160 e-Solutions issues distributed


phone calls at our call center


phone calls answered at the Commuter Information Center


people at 20 WalkArlington events including walking tours, workplace walks, health fairs, environmental expos, and school programs.


people at 53 Car-Free Diet events


people at 39 BikeArlington events


people reached at 48 transportation fairs


followers of Car-Free Diet on Twitter


pledges to go car-free


bikers checked in at Bike to Work Day rest stops in Arlington


bike light sets given away


Car-Free Diet Retail Partners


Personalized Commute Planners distributed


ART bus stops repaired or replaced due to vandalism, storms or accidents


transportation fairs attended reaching over 5,000 commuters.


site inspections of buildings for compliance


Redefine Your Commute campaign events conducted reaching over 6,000 commuters


walk events attracting 19,111 participants


new site plan properties assisted to comply with TDM requirements


Arlington businesses awarded the “Bicycle Friendly Business” status by the League of American Bicyclists


Confident City Cycling classes organized by BikeArlington with 169 attendees


TDM compliance reviews for residential site plan buildings completed


Car-free Diet Skeptics who went 30 days each without a car that was followed by thousands of people on a reality series show


new The Commuter Store®kiosk in Ballston

In 2006, ACCS embarked on an extensive research and evaluation program to measure its success in meeting customers’ needs and document the travel and environmental impacts of mode changes influenced by TDM services. ACCS has conducted surveys of residents, employees, service users, and employers to measure their awareness and use of TDM services, their satisfaction with the services, and their travel patterns before and after their contact with the program.

The research demonstrates the value of these cost-effective services to individual users and the collective value of the travel changes made by these users to achieve County-wide transportation and environmental objectives. Arlington County’s transportation demand management programs strive to improve mobility for residents, employees and visitors. Single-occupancy-vehicle (SOV) trips are converted to more sustainable modes of transportation. Almost three-quarters of trips are converted to transit, i.e. rail and bus. We estimate that Arlington County Commuter Services’ programs shift 45,000 SOV trips each work day into other forms of transportation from the region’s roads.

We in the U.S. have been trained for our car culture, and Mobility Lab is working daily to show there are other options that offer a wide variety of direct and indirect benefits.

See the ACCS annual reports for further information about our results.

Annual Reports

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