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The top 10 US cities for public transportation

Kaid Benfield

Posted January 28, 2014

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  cable cars in San Francisco (by: OZinOH, creative commons)

The folks who have brought us the wonderful app Walk Score and who also generate “transit scores” for neighborhoods and cities have just issued new rankings of the best cities in the US for taking public transportation.  In particular, they have produced a Transit Score for each of 316 cities and almost 7,000 neighborhoods.  

Here are the top ten among cities with populations of 500,000 or more people:

  the top 10 for transit (courtesy of Walk Score)

How does your city compare to these or others cities in your region?  See the full list of cities.

Matt Lerner of Walk Score reports that the older Northeastern cities with established subway systems have the highest scores.  West Coast cities that have made more recent investments in light rail also score well.  Although cities in the South have a relatively low average Transit Score of 38, there are many neighborhoods with high scores such as Downtown Houston or the Brickell Neighborhood in Miami.

Walk Score’s family of apps helps users find apartments near public transit as well as places with lower commute times.  Check out the features and download the service’s iPhone app or Android app to find a place to live with a better commute.

  light rail in Phoenix (by: Michelle Dyer, creative commons)

A city’s Transit Score ranking is based on an average resident’s access to public transit in a city.  To compute the ranking, Walk Score calculated the Transit Score of over 1.9 million locations in 316 cities, using a population-weighted methodology.  Read more about Walk Score methodology.

I love these apps.  They are fun to use and great measures of some of the important aspects of city living.

Related posts:

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.

Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in the national media.  Kaid’s newest book is People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities.

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Michael BerndtsonJan 28 2014 08:36 PM

What's with the sundrenched shiny pictures? How come you didn't post a picture of Chicago's CTA Pink Line? It's a public transit miracle if there ever was one. Stupid thing stops short at Cicero for some reason. There's even an open right-of-way just waiting for tracks to be laid. Been that way for 40 years or so. I'd have only 2 blocks to walk. Probably would be less grouchy, too. Oh well, we're number 6!

Cindy WalshJan 30 2014 01:23 PM

It is really insulting when you write an article that has absolutely no fact and is no doubt purchased propaganda by the City of Baltimore. Baltimore has the worst public transit in the entire nation because it has buses operating without industrial engineered route changes for 4 decades for goodness sake. It has posted schedules that don't let the rider know that every other route has been dropped, and if you tell the bus driver......who has no control over extremely bad management from the Governor's office.....he/she will tell you those posted schedules are only when the rider should be at the stop....not the bus driver. It is insane.

This all happens because the MTA has been underfunded for decades with the operating budget sidetracked into other transportation projects. The drivers tell you the entire MTA middle-management has been let go so no oversight, no customer response or accountability.

Maryland is trying to privatize all of MTA with private contractor VEOLA who does no better but profits for VEOLA are higher than ever!

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