By Southwester Staff

On May 25, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development announced a multi-million dollar investment in the development of two innovation districts, including one in Southwest. 

The Mobility Innovation District (MID) will be led by the Southwest Business Improvement District (BID). The city’s first-ever innovation district focused on transportation and mobility will aim to improve equitable access for residents and visitors in Southwest and create a global innovation hub to show how mobility innovation can make a city more equitable, sustainable, safe, and prosperous. 

Drawing on Southwest’s established neighborhoods, new large-scale mixed-use developments, regional attractions, and proximity to the National Mall, the Mobility Innovation District will aim to attract mobility companies that bring new technology to market and create jobs in DC. According to the mayor’s office, it will also engage the Southwest community to improve neighborhood access and quality of life.  

The announcement specified that the MID will implement a driver-operated shuttle to serve Southwest and increase access within the neighborhood to Metro, including for residents, employees, and visitors, as well as an autonomous vehicle shuttle.  

A pilot program called Mobility Wallet will provide a stipend to a group of residents to share data on their transportation patterns. Results will inform further development of the shuttle and complementary transit service. A $3 million grant to the Southwest BID will support the development of the MID. 

“The Mobility Innovation District isn’t just about innovative modes of transportation,” said Steve Moore, executive director of the Southwest BID in a press release. “It’s about transforming the neighborhood economy and improving the experience of getting into and around Southwest for our neighbors. We’re unleashing the next wave of innovation and entrepreneurship and linking equity with sustainability to empower the local community. Through this partnership with Mayor Bower’s administration, we are elevating DC as the global leader in this movement.” 

The total investment of $5 million will support Southwest’s Mobility Innovation District as well as a Penn West Equity and Innovation District led by the Golden Triangle BID in partnership with George Washington University. 

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