Not only is Los Angeles, California on this list, but New York City isn’t the top-a-top.
24/7 Wall Street created a list of the best cities to live in without a car, based on not just the availability of public transportation, but the number of neighborhoods covered by transit, how often buses and trains run, how many jobs can be reached from covered neighborhoods in 90 minutes or less; how many amenities can be reached by walking and the percentage of commuters who biked.
If you’ve seen some of our other best cities lists, you’ll notice a few ones always show up. Did your city make the cut?
10. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. to N.H.
Transit coverage: 69.4 percent (36th highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 8.9 (16th lowest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 30.2 percent (43rd highest)
Walk score: 79.2 (3rd highest)
Commuters who bike: 0.7 percent (21st highest)
The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area’s greatest strength for those without an automobile is the prevalence of dense, easily manageable communities. This makes it exceptionally easy for residents to reach amenities such as groceries, restaurants, shopping and schools.
9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.
Transit coverage: 96 percent (2nd highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 6.2 (2nd lowest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 25.6 percent (69th highest)
Walk score: 65.9 (14th highest)
Commuters who bike: 0.87 percent (14th highest)
Los Angeles is the second largest city by population in the United States, and its metropolitan area is fairly spread out. Due to its extensive public transit system the area has avoided a complete automobile-based culture.
8. Salt Lake City, Utah
Transit coverage: 89 percent (8th highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 8.5 (11th lowest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 58.9 percent (2nd highest)
Walk score: 57.6 (29th highest)
Commuters who bike: 0.78 percent (17th highest)
Utah’s population is expected to grow from 2010’s approximately 3 million to 4.4 million in 2030. Salt Lake County accounts for more than one-third of the state’s population. To accommodate this growth, the Utah Transit Authority has plans to add four more lines to its light rail system.
7. Denver-Aurora, Colo.
Transit coverage: 83.7 percent (12th highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 8.1 (10th lowest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 47.5 percent (10th highest)
Walk score: 60.4 (23rd highest)
Commuters who bike: 0.79 percent (16th highest)
Denver has bus service, light rail lines, and an airport shuttle service. The city is currently undergoing a multibillion dollar expansion of its transit system.
6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
Transit coverage: 95.6 percent (3rd highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 6.9 (5th lowest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 58.4 percent (3rd highest)
Walk score: 54.5 (34th highest)
Commuters who bike: 1.56 percent (7th highest)
Like Los Angeles, the area relies heavily on buses, running about 100 routes. Public transit covers 95.6 percent of neighborhoods, the third greatest in the country.
5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.
Transit coverage: 85.3 percent (11th highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 8.8 (15th lowest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 33.4 percent (35th highest)
Walk score: 73.6 (6th highest)
Commuters who bike: 1.07 percent (9th highest)
Seattle’s public transportation system not only includes bus and rail transit, but a monorail in the city center, as well as ferries. The city also has the sixth highest walk score in the country, due to its high number of easily accessible amenities.
4. Honolulu, Hawaii
Transit coverage: 97 percent (the highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 9 (18th highest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 59.8 percent (the highest)
Walk score: 63 (19th highest)
Commuters who bike: 0.95 percent (12th highest)
Honolulu currently does not have an urban rail system, but its bus system helps cover 97 percent of neighborhoods — the highest rate in the country. Additionally, almost 60 percent of jobs are accessible within 90 minutes to those who live in neighborhoods covered by transit. This is also the highest rate in the country.
3. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.
Transit coverage: 89.6 percent (7th highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 4.5 (the highest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 36.6 percent (25th highest)
Walk score: 85.3 (the highest)
Commuters who bike: 0.52 percent (32nd highest)
New York City ranks first in the nation for total number of passenger trips and government spending per capita on public transit, according to US News. It also has the highest rate of service frequency. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2010 operating budget was $13.4 billion. The average weekday ridership for the city is estimated to be over 8.4 million trips. The city also has the highest walk score on this list, thanks to the ability of city dwellers to reach just about any amenity on foot.
2. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.
Transit coverage: 83.5 percent (13th highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 7.4 (8th lowest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 39.9 percent (16th highest)
Walk score: 66.3 (13th highest)
Commuters who bike: 2.23 percent (2nd highest)
Portland is such a good place for people to live without a car due to both its public transit system and the ease of walking and biking around the city. The metropolitan area is served by TriMet, which in addition to other services offers a Free Rail Zone — a region that includes most of downtown Portland and where light rail and streetcar rides are always free. The city has a number of benefits for bike riders, including designated bike-only areas at traffic signals and free bike lights. It has the second highest rate of commuters who ride bikes to work in the country.
1. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
Transit coverage: 91.7 percent (5th highest)
Service frequency (minutes): 8.5 (12th highest)
Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 34.8 (30th highest)
Walk score: 84.9 (2nd highest)
Commuters who bike: 1.65 percent (6th highest)
San Francisco is held in high regard for its many successful transit systems, including the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority and the Bay Area Rapid Transit district. These systems cover nearly 92 percent of neighborhoods — the fifth highest rate in the country. San Francisco also has the second highest walk score and is excellent for bicyclists. Commuter rails within the city allow bicyclists to mount with their bicycles, and there is a bike shuttle across the Bay Bridge to help cyclists during rush hour.
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