One of the most important factors of an urban standard of living is the commuting time. Because of that, cities with best public transportation are usually considered the most livable. An efficient, safe and quality service will impact your quality of life to a great extent. It affects your daily routine whether you are trying to get to work in the morning or go shopping in the afternoon. Whether it is a subway, a bus or a commuter train, it needs to be inexpensive and not impact your budget significantly.
Cities with Best Public Transportation and the Story of Their Success
Several research institutes have conducted studies to quantify the state of public transit in major cities. By using certain metrics, they tried to evaluate the performance of buses, subways, bike shares and light rails from the standpoint of affordability, accessibility, frequency, quality, and the number of stops to remind the authorities of the need to improve the system.
According to some research, a citizen spends about 42 hours per year in traffic and this is just an average number, as major city centers have a much worse score. Drivers, on the other hand, spend even more time in congestion, averagely about 63 hours per year. As time is money, these figures are not very budget-friendly. To reduce the extent of the problem, the authorities need to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home and use the city’s transport, but they will only do that if they have a better alternative. The advantages of public transit are reliability, low cost, and less stress, but it still isn’t enough to inspire people to use these services.
Cities with the Best Public Transportation – What’s the Deal
Examining US towns with a population of more than 175,000 people and calculating the percentage difference between average commute times of drivers and bus users, the researchers came up with a list of cities with the most efficient systems.
Buses are the main means of transport in Pittsburgh. There is also light rail which goes underground in the downtown area and above the ground in other parts of the city. Users spend 32 minutes commuting on average, which makes it the 11th on the list of 136 cities. As for accessibility, more than 138,000 citizens live within a half-mile of its transit. Also, the difference between public and private transport commute is only 9 minutes in favor of private drivers.
Being the capital of the country, Washington has all means of transit available. It has the second-largest subway system in the US. An average user travels about 36 minutes per day; however, this efficiency also has its price which puts DC transport service among the most expensive ones in the country. A monthly pass will cost you more than $230. As for accessibility, more than 644,000 citizens live within a half-mile of its transit. Also, one of the advantages is that Washington’s transport is only 8.6 minutes slower than the private driver.
San Francisco, California
Cable cars are traditional in San Francisco and have a special appeal for tourists. They run up and down the city, transporting you not only from one part of the town to another but also through different time periods. Buses and commuter trains are San Francisco’s most popular means of transportation today, besides cable cars and streetcars. When it comes to accessibility, 99% of its population lives within a half-mile of transit.
The most common transportation method in Boston is the subway with its five lines and a widespread bus network. It is handled by The Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority – MBTA which has a serious job of dealing with 390 million rides per year. Around 34% of citizens use the city’s transport.
Originating from horse-drawn streetcar lines, the transit system of Chicago is one of the oldest in the US and has been operating since 1892. Nowadays, it is known for its elevated electric trains crossing the Wells Street Bridge and it is the 3rd largest rail system in the US. An average user will spend 43 minutes commuting. When considering accessibility, more than 2.7 million residents are half-mile away from its transport.
As New York is considered to be the city that never sleeps, it is bound to have the best transportation system in the US. With the variety of transport ways, like buses, subway, railway and a lot of bike lanes, the majority of the population does not need to drive a car. However, as the population is growing and its transit system is getting old, it requires major repairs. They do have good accessibility to the city’s transport, with about 19 transit routes being within half-mile from each block of New York.
Even though Seattle has a variety of commuting options, such as monorails, trams, buses, and recently constructed light rail systems, its growth is surpassing the traffic capabilities. This encourages people to use its transport more and more.
Los Angeles, California
Freeways are a landmark of Los Angeles, but its public transportation is among the best ones in the country, being the 3rd most comprehensive system in the US. LA is connected by light rail, subway, buses, and shuttles. It is said to be easily accessible, but some think it is growing too fast without proper grounds. It is still much quicker to get from one place to another by car and the fuel prices are relatively low. Furthermore, people think traveling by bus is less reliable and they also have some safety concerns.
When considering the number of people using its transport system, Philadelphia has street-level trolleys, trolleybuses, subways, and commuter rails, all of which are accessible to over 371,000 inhabitants in less than 30 minutes. There is also a very popular bike-sharing system.
Considering the amount of traffic, one can say Miami is bound to have delays, especially with the Brickell Avenue drawbridge going up every hour or half-hour to allow river traffic to pass under (which is very important commercially). So, being late is considered to be customary. The new metro rail system is expected to modernize commuting and encourage people to get out of their cars and start using its transport system. That is not a difficult job since debt-stricken millennials are less prone to using cars due to financial reasons. As for accessibility, more than 423,000 of citizens, which is 99% of all users, live within a half-mile of one of the routes.