© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: This study aims to focus on security measures for protecting transportation buildings from vehicle bomb attacks. It discusses ways to mitigate the effects of vehicle bomb terrorist attacks through architectural design decisions on transportation buildings. Design/methodology/approach: The main research topic is the evaluation of architectural design decisions for vehicle bomb attacks at transportation buildings with the multi-criteria decision-making method. First, it was investigated which characteristics the impact of the explosion on the structures depended on. The measures for vehicle bomb attacks regarding the relationship between the urban scale and the building were determined by four main criteria and 17 sub-criteria. Due to the complex and ambiguous nature of architectural design, these criteria were evaluated by the analytic hierarchy processes. After the criteria weights were obtained, the alternative sample buildings, including the train stations and airports, were evaluated with the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution method. Findings: The site security design was determined as the most effective component for vehicle bomb attacks among the main criteria. The most important sub-criterion was the perimeter firewall. In the evaluations of the alternatives, it was determined that airports performed better against vehicle bomb attacks in terms of architectural design requirements than train stations. Originality/value: This research contributes to the literature for the countries where explosions occur intensively by determining the importance of architectural design parameters for the transportation buildings and surroundings against vehicle bomb attacks. This study provides an evaluation model based on transportation buildings considering the relationship between the urban scale and the building itself.