Score Your Access

Score your neighborhood's access to all kinds of transit with this new mapping tool.

Alta's offices score 100 with the MobilityScore mapping tool.
Alta’s offices score 100 with the MobilityScore mapping tool.

How transit-friendly is your neighborhood? Think you know the answer? Great. Now factor in your local  access to car-sharing services like Zipcar and bikeshares like Ford Go Bikes. How is your area’s access to ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft? It’s a complicated question that a new mapping tool can answer in seconds.

MobilityScore, from transportation software developer TransitScreen, can sort transit data from the United States’ 30 biggest metropolitan areas and rate it on a scale of 0-100 in four categories. Five Canadian cities are available on the site, as well.

Plug an address into MobilityScore and the tool will measure local access to public transit, bike shares, car shares, and ride shares. It even can fine-tune the score by time of day. For example, the MobilityScore for Alta’s headquarters at 765 Market Street in downtown San Francisco at around 6 p.m. is 100, scoring 87 percent on public transit, 7 percent on bike sharing, 4 percent on ride hailing and 2 percent on car sharing. In our immediate vicinity (regarded as within a quarter mile) we’ve got tons of Muni, BART, bikeshare, carshare, and ride hailing options. Within a mile-wide circle, we have even more access to getting on the road.  

Oddly, our address scores 100 at midnight as well. Alta’s offices are admittedly in the center of San Francisco, an area with nearly 24-hour action. An address in San Francisco’s Mission District scores an 82 percent, rating 59 percent in public transit, 18 percent in ride-hailing, 18 percent in bikeshare, and 5 percent in carshare.

Let’s try some others. The Chateau Marmont Hotel and Bungalows, at 8221 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, has a MobilityScore of 63. Public transit scored 62 percent, ride-hailing scored 29 percent and carshares got 9 percent. There is no bikeshare within a mile of the Chateau Marmont. A look across town — we picked Compton High School at 601 South Acacia Avenue in Compton — produces a MobilityScore of 50, rating only 42 percent in public transportation and 58 percent in ride-shares. As CityLab’s Laura Bliss points out, MobilityScores can reveal inequity in transit access, especially in terms of those in poorer areas who might utilize it most.

It’s interesting to plug various addresses into MobilityScore, but in the end, the result is really just a number. The MobilityScore map doesn’t offer information on accessing transit options, such as bus schedules or links to Uber or Zipcar. TransitScreen’s other products do that, and are pretty useful.

Basically, the MobilityScore falls into that category of interesting things to know,  similar to a “walk score” for a real estate listing. It gives you the lay of the land in terms of a specific location’s transit access, but it still won’t really help you get to work on time.   

Beth Spotswood is Alta's digital editor, events manager, and a contributing writer.
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