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Redfin Unveils the Best U.S. Cities for Public Transit in 2019

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New York, Union City, NJ; and San Francisco claimed the top three spots in the U.S., according to the latest Transit Score® update.

New YorkUnion City, NJ; and San Francisco top the 2019 list of best cities for public transit, looking at cities of all sizes, according to Redfin’s latest Transit Score® ranking. Transit Score, a tool by Redfin company Walk Score®, rates locations based on how convenient they are to public transportation.

In the past, Redfin’s annual Transit Score report typically only examined large cities with a population of 300,000 or more. However this year, Redfin is presenting the raw ranking, unfiltered for population, to show that transit is not reserved only for the largest places.

“Housing affordability has become a nationwide concern, leading people to move away from big, expensive cities to smaller, affordable commuter towns and inland areas,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Small cities that offer the best of both worlds–accessible public transit and relatively affordable homes for sale–are destined for strong growth in the coming years.”

Looking at that full list, the three top spots each had a Transit Score of 80 or better, with New York and its New Jersey suburb of Union City surging above other cities, indicating the local public transit is both conveniently located and runs frequently.

Rank City Transit Score Change (in Transit Score points) from 2018
1 New York, NY 84 -1
2 Union City, NJ 81 0
3 San Francisco, CA 80 0
4 Hoboken, NJ 75 0
5 Cambridge, MA 74 2
6 West New York, NJ 73 0
7 Boston, MA 72 -1
8 Washington, D.C. 71 3
9 Jersey City, NJ 71 0
10 Brookline, MA 69 1
11 Philadelphia, PA 67 0
12 Chicago, IL 65 0
13 Newark, NJ 65 0
14 Silver Spring, MD 64 0
15 Somerville, MA 64 1
16 Bayonne, NJ 62 0
17 Arlington, VA 62 3
18 Santa Monica, CA 62 -1
19 Oak Park, IL 62 0
20. Takoma Park, MD 61 0
21. West Hollywood, CA 61 0
22. Seattle, WA 60 0
23. Beverly Hills, CA 60 0
24. Hyattsville, MD 59 4
25. Florence-Graham, CA 59 -1

New York’s score of 84 is actually down one point from last year–related to hysteria around L-pocalypse, perhaps? New Jersey suburbs popular with commuters also performed well, including top-ranked Union City, as well as HobokenWest New York, and Jersey City all in the top 10, proving whether you live in the Big Apple, or across the river for it, getting around won’t pose a problem.

“The outstanding public transportation options in the greater New York City area make it possible to live a car-free lifestyle, while still benefiting from all the area has to offer,” said New York-based Redfin market manager, Nick Boniakowski. “Whether it’s taking the New York City subway around multiple boroughs, or hopping on the PATH train and ferry to commute across the Hudson river to and from New Jersey, residents have a multitude of options without the hassle and expense of driving. For many buyers, the home search starts with the commute, and these options allow residents to accomplish almost any task with a quick walk and a MetroCard.”

Interestingly, Cambridge outranked Boston, with scores of 74 and 72, respectively. Beantown suburbs Brookline and Somerville both earned top scores too, highlighting the ease of access to public transportation in the Boston metro area.

The Washington, D.C., area demonstrated significant change since last year’s ranking. Our nation’s capital ranked a respectable 8th place overall at 71, but rose three points, more than any other city in the top 25–except for its suburb of Arlington. Arlington also gained three points to hit 62, an increase that could very likely have something to do with Amazon HQ2’s arrival in Crystal City, located in Arlington. Indeed, access to mass transit was listed as a core preference in criteria when Amazon opened up their nationwide search, and there are already plans in place for key transportation infrastructure improvements near the new office campus.

More than half of the top 25 small and large cities remain unchanged from last year, while a few only dipped or increased by one. Those small changes are not for nothing–Redfin found in 2017 that one Transit Score point can increase the price of an average home by more than $2,000.

The results also show that cities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic tend to rank higher for public transit, with more than half of the top entries found in these regions. The West Coast was close behind with cities from California and Washington, while Chicago and nearby Oak Park were the sole cities ranked highly in the Midwest.

For Transit Score purists, we’ve also compiled the more traditional list, examining just the top 20 cities with a population over 300,000:

Rank City Transit Score Change (in Transit Score points) from 2018
1 New York, NY 84 -1
2 San Francisco, CA 80 0
3 Boston, MA 72 -1
4 Washington, D.C. 71 3
5 Philadelphia, PA 67 0
6 Chicago, IL 65 0
7 Seattle, WA 60 0
8 Baltimore, MD 57 0
9 Miami, FL 57 0
10 Minneapolis, MN 57 -1
11 Honolulu, HI 57 0
12 Oakland, CA 56 0
13 Pittsburgh, PA 56 2
14 Los Angeles, CA 53 2
15 Portland, OR 52 1
16 Long Beach, CA 52 1
17 Milwaukee, WI 48 -1
18 Denver, CO 47 -1
19 Atlanta, GA 47 1
20. Cleveland, OH 45 -2

Several cities were measured for Transit Score this year for the first time. New cities include Daly City, CA (52); Pasadena, CA (51); New Haven, CT (48); South Pasadena, CA (46); Gardena, CA (46); El Monte, CA (46); York, PA (40); Bridgeport, CT (40); San Mateo, CA (40); Harrisburg, PA (39); New Britain, CT (38); Moline, IL (37); Darien, CT (37); Waterbury, CT (34); Akron, OH (32); Oxford, OH (31); Flint, MI (31); Vallejo, CA (31); Pasco, WA (31); Poughkeepsie, NY (30); Longmont, CO (29); Knoxville, TN (28); Richland, WA (28); Omaha, NE (27); Walnut Creek, CA (26); Fairfield, CA (25); Dubuque, IA (25); Vacaville, CA (24); Sioux City, IA (24); Meriden, CT (23); Muscatine, IA (22); Clinton, IA (22); Coralville, IA (21); Hanford, CA (21); Simi Valley, CA (21); Mason City, IA (20); Cedar Rapids, IA (20); Murrieta, CA (20); Cedar Falls, IA (20); Greenville, SC (19); Ocala, FL (19); Fort Dodge, IA (19); Thousand Oaks, CA (17); Lawrenceville, GA (16); Marshalltown, IA (16); Middletown, OH (16); Rocky Mount, NC (16); Temecula, CA (16); Hamilton, OH (13); Burlington, IA (13); Fairfield, OH (6).

Want to know how we determine Transit Score? Here’s more information on our methodology:

The Transit Score algorithm calculates a score by summing the relative usefulness of public transit (bus, subway, light rail, ferry, etc.) routes near a given location. Usefulness is defined as the distance to the nearest stop on the route, the frequency of the route, and type of route (with twice as much weight given to heavy/light rail than to bus service). Transit Score is based on data published in General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format by transit agencies across the country. For a more details on the Transit Score methodology, click here.

To see how your home, neighborhood or city stacks up, search walkscore.com or Redfin.com.

Redfin Unveils the Best Canadian Cities for Public Transit in 2019

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TorontoVancouver and Montreal top the 2019 list of best Canadian cities for public transit, according to Redfin’s newest Transit Score® rankings. Transit Score, a tool by Redfin company Walk Score®, rates locations based on how convenient they are to public transportation.

This is Redfin’s first year ranking transit in Canadian cities. Looking at big cities with populations of over 300,000, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal took the three top spots with Transit Score ratings of 78, 74, and 67, respectively. Transit Score is calculated based on indicators showing that local public transit is both convenient, and runs frequently.

“Toronto is highly populated and growing all the time. The influx of people from all over the world to Toronto puts a strain on all aspects of transportation in regards to road infrastructure and traffic in and out of the city, which is nothing less than gridlock,” said Blair Anderson, broker of record and market manager for Redfin in Toronto.

“Significant growth requires major transit infrastructure, and the city has recognized that and is investing in transit. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates in the city, and plans to expand the light rail and subway service. GO train, our commuter rail system, is also undergoing a significant expansion, to make it even more accessible to those living farther out,” he said. “Some people moan and complain about public transit, but Toronto’s system is one of the better transit systems in the world. It’s highly ranked, runs well on a timely basis, and doesn’t have many problems. And without it, the city would shut down.”

With a score of 78, Toronto’s Transit Score holds an edge over several large U.S. cities. It ranks higher than Boston’s 72 rating, and falls just shy of San Francisco’s score of 80, earning a comparable place among the largest cities in North America. Vancouver too ranks above the likes of Boston, as well as Washington, D.C. (71). Montreal meanwhile, finds a partner in Philadelphia, with both cities earning a score of 67.

Read on for the full ranking of the top 15 large cities (with populations of more than 300,000) in Canada for public transit in 2019.

Rank City Transit Score
1 Toronto 78
2 Vancouver 74
3 Montréal 67
4 Mississauga 56
5 Brampton 53
6 Winnipeg 51
7 Calgary 50
8 Ottawa 50
9 Edmonton 49
10 Markham 49
11 Québec 47
12 Surrey 47
13 Laval 46
14 Hamilton 45
15 London 45

Want to know how we determine Transit Score? Here’s more information on our methodology:

The Transit Score algorithm calculates a score by summing the relative usefulness of public transit (bus, subway, light rail, ferry, etc.) routes near a given location. Usefulness is defined as the distance to the nearest stop on the route, the frequency of the route, and type of route (with twice as much weight given to heavy/light rail than to bus service). Transit Score is based on data published in General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format by transit agencies across the country. For a more details on the Transit Score methodology, click here.

To see how your home, neighborhood or city stacks up, search walkscore.com or Redfin.ca.

More Walk Score Data in More Ways

At Walk Score we’re committed to helping people find walkable places to live with easy access to the people and places they love. As part of our ongoing effort to make more data available to more people, we’re excited to announce the expansion of our API offerings. Based on user feedback, we’re now offering Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score in a single API. Additionally, for the first time ever you will be able to add a Score Details report to your website with our Score Details API, making it easier for visitors to your site to understand their Walk Score.

Score API example:

Use the Walk Score API to get the Walk Score, Transit Score and for the first time ever, Bike Score for any location. Allow visitors to your website to search for or filter properties by Walk Score. Transit Score is available in 500+ cities and Bike Score is available in 150+ cities.
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Score Details API example:

The Score Details Report explains the Walk Score of a location and shows which categories are more or less walkable. For example, a home or apartment might have great walkability for restaurants and shopping but not for parks and schools. We use the Score Details API on walkscore.com to provide users with insight into their Walk Score and now we’re making this data available to add to your website and mobile apps.

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Public Transit API example:

Transit data is available from 350+ transit agencies with more data being added all the time. Display the distance from your listings to nearby transit stops or enable search near transit on your site.

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Travel Time API example:

Many Walk Score users are familiar with our Travel Time API shown here in use on Walk Score Apartment Search. We’re pleased to announce the official return of this hidden gem. Use the Travel Time API on your site to rapidly calculate travel times between places and visualize travel times on a map. Engage your site visitors by allowing them to explore their commute time. 

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Sign up for an API key or contact us to get started.

Walkability, Real Estate and Public Health Data

In addition to expanding our API offerings, we’re also making more data available for analysts and researchers.

Opportunity Score:

Opportunity Score assigns an address a rating, from zero to 100, that represents how easy it is to get to nearby jobs without a car. Scores also consider the local population to reflect the fact that places with more people likely have more competition for local jobs. Opportunity Score data is now available in a spreadsheet.

Predictive Analysis

We’re also excited to announce a custom predictive analysis service to help developers and planners assess the impact of proposed development. The scope of the analysis can be tailored to your unique needs including the impact on Walk Score, walkshed and amenity access and depth of choice.

Contact us to learn more about using Walk Score data in your research and analysis.

Walk Score for Trick-or-Treaters

With Halloween fast approaching, it’s important for trick-or-treaters young and old to know where to score the best candy. Walk Score is proud to be one of four criteria Zillow used to put together a handy list of the 5 best Trick-or-Treat neighborhoods in Seattle. The other equally weighted factors are Zillow’s home value index, population density and local crime data.

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So which neighborhoods rank highest? Wallingford (90), Queen Anne (81),  Magnolia (61), University District (94) and Capitol Hill (87).

Check out the Walk Scores for all 77 Seattle neighborhoods.

Learn English with Walk Score!

We didn’t realize that Walk Score helps people learn English! These videos produced by Mike Marzio of Real-English.com feature our own Mike Mathieu talking about the benefits of walkable neighborhoods.

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We had no idea the outtakes from Mike’s CNN interview would end up as ESL instructional videos!

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It’s also great that they are teaching people English by talking about walkability. It really shows that it’s an important global issue!

Perfectly Walkable Small Towns

Walkability isn’t an urban phenomenon, it’s an everywhere phenomenon.  Walk Score advisor Dan Burden created a great list of walkable small towns.  We decided to build on Dan’s list by finding 10 small towns with locations that have perfect 100 Walk Scores.

Aspen, CO | Key West, FL | Healdsburg, CA | Missoula, MT | Flagstaff, AZ | Brunswick, ME | Lawrence, KS | Juneau, AK | Middlebury, VT | Moscow, ID

This is just a start and we’re hoping to build a comprehensive list in the future—and to create walkability maps for small towns that are similar to the maps we made for the 40 largest U.S. cities.

Tip: want to see some hot pedestrian-centric design? Look at Lawrence, KS or Healdsburg, CA and then click the “Go to street level view” link above the map.

Walk Score in Green Building Guidelines

We’re excited that the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge guidelines now include using Walk Score to aide in site selection. The GBC recommends not building within the 100 year flood plain “unless part of an existing historic community core developed prior to 1945, or a location classified by Walk Score (www.walkscore.com) with a minimum rating of 70.”

We’ve also had a number of people mention to us that Walk Score might be an easy way to calculate the Community Connectivity credit in the LEED Green Building Rating System.