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12 Cities Where You Can Live Affordably in a Walkable Neighborhood

Living in a walkable neighborhood can save you a lot of money, particularly in savings on car costs. But with rents skyrocketing in many parts of the country, sometimes it feels like affordable rent and walkability go together like chocolate and salsa (hello, $4500 studio in San Francisco).

In the face of these sometimes dismal rent numbers, we decided to find the places in the country where you can live a walkable, urban lifestyle – affordably.  To answer this question, we looked at Walk Score data, Cost of Living Index, and average rents for every major city in the country. And, in all of the cities listed below, there’s a nice selection of one bedroom apartments located in Walker’s Paradise neighborhoods (meaning a Walk Score of 90+) listed on our apartment search for $1000 or less. Take a look at our top 12 picks for affordable and walkable cities:

Buffalo1.  Buffalo, NY

Despite, the long, cold winters,  this once-great industrial hub in western New York is home to a vibrant community of young professionals and students in walkable areas like Bryant and Front Park. Located where the Niagara River flows out of Lake Erie, Buffalo boasts great nightlife, an emerging dining scene, and neighborhoods with a strong sense of community.

 

St. Louis2.  St. Louis, MO

Home of the Gateway Arch and the Cardinals, this Midwestern city boasts not only walkable neighborhoods and affordable rent, but also plenty of free activities. Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World’s Fair, houses a free zoo and world-class art museum. Walkable neighborhoods such as the revitalized Downtown, the Central West End, and the Delmar Loop offer a variety of apartments at affordable prices.

 

Rochester3.  Rochester, NY

On the shores of Lake Ontario, Rochester brings together small-town charm with world-class culture. Even in the winter, when snow is high and temperatures are low, walkers can navigate downtown in the Rochester Skyway, a system of enclosed walkways. Residents, many of whom live in walkable neighborhoods like Pearl-Meigs-Monroe and Park Avenue, can also jump in a car share and head out for a day trip to the gorgeous Finger Lakes, a major wine-growing region.

 

Chicago

4.  Chicago, IL

Although the Windy City may not immediately seem like an affordable home, prices are well below those in comparable large US cities – we found tons of Walker’s Paradise apartments for less than $1000 a month, especially in neighborhoods like Lake View, Uptown, and Hyde Park. Chicago’s many walkable neighborhoods (seriously, there are 28 with a Walk Score of 90+) are connected by one of the country’s best public transit systems.

 

Pittsburgh

5.  Pittsburgh, PA

Famous as the center of the steel industry in the 19th century, Pittsburgh is located where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers join the Ohio River. Pittsburgh’s landscape is defined by waterways, hills, and bridges connecting walkable neighborhoods such as the Central Business District and the Southside Flats. A vibrant music scene, passionate Steelers fans, plentiful students, and a lively culinary scene come together in this surprisingly hip and liveable city.

 

Minneapolis6.  Minneapolis, MN

One of the Twin Cities, together with nearby St. Paul, Minneapolis is known as the city of lakes. Although average rent is higher than some cities, there are plenty of affordable places to be found in Lowry Hill East, Whittier, and Loring Park, and with a bike score of 79, this city is the most bikeable city (with a population over 200,000) in the country.

 

Milwaukee7.  Milwaukee, WI

Known for its breweries and its avid sports fans, Milwaukee sits on the Western coast of Lake Michigan. Locals flock to Brady Street on the Lower East Side for independent coffee houses and shopping, and foodies love the indoor Milwaukee Public Market in Juneau Town.

 

Cleveland8.  Cleveland, OH

Yet another town on the Great Lakes that is both affordable and walkable, Cleveland is located on the shores of Lake Erie. The Downtown neighborhood is in the midst of a revival, making this a great place for urbanites on a budget.

 

 

Baltimore

9.  Baltimore, MD

This Maryland city may be near D.C., but Baltimore has a character all of its own. Home to the world renowned Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as well as the Baltimore Orioles, this city has something for everyone. Neighborhoods like Mount Vernon, Seton Hill, and Charles Village offer walkable and affordable apartments, and for those who love to live in a walkable city but still experience nature, Gwynns Falls Trail is an excellent example of an urban trail system.

 

Dallas

10.  Dallas, TX

Texas may not be known for a car-free lifestyle (and, to be fair, none of Texas’s main cities have an impressive overall Walk Score), but Dallas has a surprisingly walkable city center with plenty of affordable places to live around the Main Street District, the Farmers Market District, and the Government District.

 

Richmond11.  Richmond, VA

First settled in 1607, Virginia’s capital city is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Now, residents can enjoy the historic Shockoe Bottom area and beautiful Edwardian architecture in The Fan district, as well as a quick walk to work at any of 60 public and private companies in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park.

 

Sacramento12.  Sacramento, CA

The hub of California politics, Sacramento is one city in the Sunny State where affordable rent isn’t out of the question. With beautiful weather year round, residents of Sacramento can enjoy affordable rent and a walkable lifestyle in neighborhoods like Boulevard Park and Mansion Flats. To top it off, they can jump in a car share and get to the Napa Valley or even Lake Tahoe in less than two hours.

 

Runners Up:  Providence, RI and Philadelphia, PA

Both these lovely cities are highly walkable and actually have a good number of apartments in our price range (under $1000 for a 1 bedroom in a Walker’s Paradise), but the overall high average cost of living index meant they got relegated to runners-up.

 

Do You Live in a Food Desert?

A food desert is a neighborhood without access to healthy food.  Why does this matter? Living in a food desert can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease1.

Walk Score helps you make more informed decisions about where to live, like finding an apartment within walking distance of a grocery store.

Many cities are making access to healthy food part of their general plans.  For example, Washington D.C.’s sustainability plan sets a goal of having 75% of residents within a 5 minute walk of healthy food.

But how many people can walk to a grocery store in 5 minutes?

Today, we’re announcing a new ranking of the best and worst U.S. cities for access to food based on our database of local places and our Travel Time API and ChoiceMaps technology.

The Best Cities for Food Access

Our ranking measures access to healthy food by calculating the percent of people in a city who can walk to a grocery store in 5 minutes.  The ranking below includes U.S. cities with more than 500,000 residents.

The best cities for access to healthy food are:

Rank City People with Food Access (5 min walk)
1 New York 72%
2 San Francisco 59%
3 Philadelphia 57%
4 Boston 45%
5 Washington D.C. 41%
The best and worst cities for food access.

The best and worst large cities for food access.
Areas in green indicate where you can walk to a grocery store in 5 mins.

The Worst Cities for Food Access

The following cities have the lowest percentage of people who can walk to a grocery store within 5 minutes:

Rank City People with Food Access (5 min walk)
1 Indianapolis 5%
2 Oklahoma City 5%
3 Charlotte 6%
4 Tucscon 6%
5 Albuquerque 7%

Don’t See Your City? Urban planners and researchers, please contact us to unlock your city.

Methodology

To calculate the percent of residents in a city with access to healthy food we use a variety of data sources and technologies.  Our population data and city boundaries come from the U.S. Census. Our list of grocery stores comes from a mix of Google, Localeze, and places added via the Walk Score website. We calculated millions of walking routes for this ranking with our Travel Time API.

Our goal is to only include grocery stores that sell produce.  We filter out convenience stores with a combination of algorithmic filters and crowdsourcing.  That said, it’s harder than it sounds to get a clean list of grocery stores.  If you see a convenience store miscategorized as a grocery store, please click the “Edit place” link and help us improve our data quality.

Our rankings are proximity based and do not include the cost of food.  Some studies have shown that shoppers select supermarkets based on price as well as proximity2.  For example, people with lower incomes may travel farther to shop at a cheaper grocery store.

Unlike other food desert maps, our maps are dynamic and updated in real-time as our database of underlying grocery stores changes.

Walk Score Data for Your City, County or State 

Walk Score data is being used by a growing number of cities and planning districts.  “The City of San Jose is using Walk Score data to start tracking performance metrics for our general plan such as how many people can walk to fresh food and parks,” said Joseph Horwedel, Deputy City Manager of San Jose.

Walk Score offers data in spreadsheet or shapefile format for every address in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.  We have also aggregated our data for every city and ZIP code in the U.S.

Planners, researchers, and analysts are using Walk Score in a variety of ways:

Contact us to learn more about using Walk Score data in your research and analysis and watch this video to learn more about Walk Score ChoiceMaps:

Best Canadian Cities for Public Transit

Following on our ranking of the best U.S. cities for public transit earlier this year, today we’re announcing our first ranking of the best Canadian cities for public transit.

We’ve calculated the Transit Score of 38 Canadian cities and almost 1,000 neighborhoods to help you find an apartment for rent or home for sale with a better commute and more transportation choices.

In comparison to the United States, Toronto and Montreal score better than any large U.S. city except New York and San Francisco. And Vancouver, with a Transit Score of 74, trounces nearby Seattle (our home town), with a Transit Score of 57.

The Best Large Canadian Cities for Public Transit

canada-ranking

Here is our Transit Score ranking of Canadian cities with more than 500,000 residents:

Rank City Transit Score
1 Toronto 78
2 Montréal 77
3 Vancouver 74
4 Winnipeg 51
5 Ottawa 49
6 Brampton 48
7 Québec 46
8 Edmonton 44
9 Calgary 43
10 Hamilton 42

Click on the cities in the list above to explore the best neighborhoods for public transit.

Transit Score Ranking Methodology

The rankings are based on our Transit Score algorithm, which measures how well a location is served by public transit. Addresses with a Transit Score of 90-100 are considered a “Rider’s Paradise.” Places with a score of 70–89 have Excellent Transit. Scores of 50–69 indicate places with Good Transit and ratings of 49 or lower indicate areas with Some or Minimal Transit options. Read the Transit Score methodology.

Find Apartments Near Public Transit

There’s growing evidence that living near good public transportation is a smart decision. For example, living near public transit can save you money. Transportation is the 2nd largest household expense in Canada. Taking public transit is cheaper than owning a car. And living near good public transit might just make you happier — after all, nobody likes being stuck in traffic.

Walk Score Apartment Search helps you find apartments near public transit.  For example, here’s a map of rentals within a 30 minute public transit commute of Downtown Vancouver.

Apartments within a 30 minute public transit commute of Vancouver.

Apartments within a 30 minute public transit commute of Downtown Vancouver.

Take Walk Score on the Go

Our award-winning Walk Score iPhone and Android apps let you take Walk Score on the go in Canada.  You can use our apps to get the Walk Score of any location and find apartments and rentals.

mobile-near-transit

 

New Ranking of Best U.S. Cities for Public Transit

Today we’re announcing a new ranking of the best cities in the United States for public transit.

We’ve calculated the Transit Score for 316 cities and almost 7,000 neighborhoods to help home shoppers and apartment hunters find places to live with better commutes and more transportation choices.

Where Can You Live Car-Free?

Here are the best U.S. cities for public transportation.

Rank City Transit Score
1 New York 81
2 San Francisco 80
3 Boston 75
4 Washington D.C. 70
5 Philadelphia 67

New Public Transit Ranking by Region

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

Regional Transit Score Ranking

The older Northeast 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 low average Transit Score of 38, there are many neighborhoods with high scores such as Downtown Houston or the Brickell Neighborhood in Miami.

Living Near Public Transit

There’s growing evidence that buying a house or renting an apartment near public transit is a smart idea.

  • First, it’s likely a better investment.  The National Association of Realtors found that home values performed 42% better when they were located near public transit1.  In Boston, a recent study showed that home prices near public transit outperformed the region by 129%2.
  • Living near public transit saves you money. The average American spends $9,859 per year on their car3. Did you know this is the equivalent of a $135,000 mortgage?!  Transportation is the second largest expense for American households4.
  • And living near good public transit might just make you happier5 — after all, nobody likes being stuck in traffic.

Walk Score helps you find apartments near public transit with our unique search by commute time features.  Download our iPhone app or Android app to find a place to live with a better commute.

mobile-near-transit

Transit Score Ranking Methodology

Our ranking is based on the average resident’s access to public transit in a city.  To compute our ranking, we calculated the Transit Score of over 1.9  million locations in 316 cities.  We use a population-weighted methodology to compute the average Transit Score for a city.  Our top 10 cities list includes cities with populations over 500,000 people.  Read more about Walk Score methodology.

Top 10 Most Walkable College Towns

top 10 walkable college towns

College towns burst with school spirit and are shaped by the character of the university or universities in the area. College towns are also distinguished by the surrounding city, the social and cultural gathering places, outdoor spaces and the mix of nearby businesses and amenities.

Our list of the Most Walkable College Towns includes cities with mid-size universities like Brown (the alma mater of two Walk Score co-founders) and large universities like Cal Berkeley with tens of thousands of students.

The Top 10 Most Walkable College Towns in the US:

1. Cambridge, MA Walk Score 87 (Harvard University and MIT)

2. Berkeley, CA Walk Score 79 (University of California at Berkeley)

3. Providence, RI Walk Score 76 (Brown University)

4. Evanston, IL Walk Score 74 (Northwestern University)

5. Hempstead, NY Walk Score 71 (Hofstra University)

6. Ithaca, NY Walk Score 65 (Cornell University)

7. New Haven, CT Walk Score 65 (Yale University)

8. Albany, NY Walk Score 63 (State University of New York at Albany)

9. Medford, MA Walk Score 63 (Tufts University)

10. Lowell, MA Walk Score 62 (University of Massachusetts)

To rank the Top 10 Most Walkable College Towns we analyzed the Walk Score of the cities where the top 200 largest universities are located and then sorted by population, removing larger cities (with over 200,000 residents) which represent a more diversified population and economic base.

Why is walkability important in a college town?

Simply put, cars are expensive; walking is not. The increasing costs of driving is leading young Americans to drive less, according to the Frontier Group. Between 2001 and 2009, the average yearly number of miles driven by 16 to 34-year-olds dropped a staggering 23 percent.

Younger Americans are also becoming less likely to take out loans to buy and maintain cars. New research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that student debt has grown dramatically over the last decade — some 43 percent of Americans under age 25 had student debt in 2012, with an average debt burden of over $20,000.

One way that students can save money is by not owning and maintaining a car. And, in fact, public transportation use is up 40 percent per capita in this age group since 2001 and bicycling is up 24 percent.

Accessible Living:

Walk Score is helping students find housing by aggregating apartments and homes for rent from around the Web to make it easy for students to find places to live by commute time, walkability, and access to public transit.

As a college student myself, my favorite aspect of living in the walkable neighborhood of Seattle’s University District, is that daily errands don’t require a car. Within walking distance is a concentrated core of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, parks, and entertainment that are essential to the community.

Finding an apartment is similar to choosing a college. You factor in the costs, size, people you will live with, the extensive application process, and most importantly, location. Location is key to the college experience and Walk Score can help you find the right fit!

2014 Ranking of Most Walkable Cities & Neighborhoods

most walkable us cities and neighborhoods

Just in time for New Year’s resolutions to live healthier and save money, we’re announcing our 2014 ranking of Most Walkable U.S. Cities and Neighborhoods. Read the official press release.

We hope this new ranking helps people find great places to live that offer a breadth of nearby amenities including food, entertainment, shopping, schools, parks, bike lanes and public transit. Being able to walk out your door and leave your car at home more often is great for your wallet, health and quality of life.

Walk Score Ranking of Largest U.S. Cities

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# 1

New York

Walk Score: 87.6
New York

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# 2

San Francisco

Walk Score: 83.9
San Francisco

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# 3

Boston

Walk Score: 79.5
Boston

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# 4

Philadelphia

Walk Score: 76.5
Philadelphia

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# 5

Miami

Walk Score: 75.6
Miami

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# 6

Chicago

Walk Score: 74.8
New York

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# 7

Washington D.C.

Walk Score: 74.1
San Francisco

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# 8

Seattle

Walk Score: 70.8
Seattle

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# 9

Oakland

Walk Score: 68.5
Oakland

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#10

Baltimore

Walk Score: 66.2
Baltimore

 

Based on our Street Smart Walk Score algorithm and analysis of over 10 million addresses and 2 billion walking routes for 2,500 U.S. cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods, the 2014 ranking is our most sophisticated to date. Read our 2014 rankings methodology.

Live Healthier, Happier & Save Money in 2014

“The typical American family spends 1/5th of their income on transportation and countless hours are wasted commuting long distances,” said Jeff Speck author, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time. “Walk Score is leading the way in helping people make smart and informed decisions about where to live. Nothing makes as big of an impact on your health and quality of life as finding a better commute and living in a walkable neighborhood.”

  • Be Healthier: The average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs eight pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.
  • Be Happier: People who live in walkable communities are more socially engaged and trusting than those who live in less walkable areas.
  • Save Money: The average American spends over $9,000 per year on their car making cars the second largest expense for most households, costing more than food, clothing and health care.

Find Your Neighborhood Today

To help you get started, we created this list of select Walker’s Paradise neighborhoods where you can live healthier, happier and car-free in 2014. In addition to having a Walk Score of over 90 all of these neighborhoods also offer access to excellent public transit with a Transit Score of 70+.

Learn more about our apartment and rental search and download our updated Apartments and Rentals iPhone App to search for places to live by commute time, access to public transit, Walk Score and your “Gotta Have” amenities.

 

2014 City and Neighborhood Ranking Methodology

Our 2014 ranking is the first time we’ve calculated city and neighborhood scores using our Street Smart Walk Score algorithm.  To calculate the rankings, we scored over 10 million locations and computed over 2 billion walking routes for 2,500 U.S. cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods.

We’ve made a number of significant improvements to the Walk Score algorithm:

  • Walking routes: Billions of walking routes are quickly calculated using our Travel Time API.
  • Depth of choice: To capture what makes a place truly walkable, we’re analyzing hundreds of nearby amenities for each location to measure depth of choice (see ChoiceMaps for more info).
  • Pedestrian friendliness: We’ve improved our analysis of pedestrian friendliness with better road metrics such as intersection density and average block length.
  • Mixed use: We’re using population data to determine whether a neighborhood is mixed use (residential and commercial) or single use.
  • Improved local data: We’ve continued to improve our local data sources, including over 35,000 additions and removals of places from Walk Score users.
Walk Score Point Grid

Walk Score Point Grid

Ranking Methodology

To rank cities and neighborhoods, we calculate the Walk Score of approximately every city block (technically a grid of latitude and longitude points spaced roughly 500 feet apart).

Each point is weighted by population density so that the rankings reflect where people live and so that neighborhoods and cities do not have lower scores because of parks, bodies of water, etc.

Roosevelt Island: Before and After

Since this is the first city and neighborhood ranking we’ve done with our Street Smart algorithm, here’s a fun island example.  You can see the score decreasing for Roosevelt Island since water barriers prevent residents from accessing nearby Manhattan.

The Walk Score for Roosevelt Island decreases due to water barriers.

The Walk Score for Roosevelt Island decreases due to water barriers.

How Scores Are Changing

Almost all of our city and neighborhood scores have changed — some improved and some declined. The trend line in the graph below shows that neighborhoods with low scores decreased the most. This is likely due to longer routed distances, poor road metrics like intersection density and block length, and a lack of mixed use development.

Neighborhoods with high scores tended to improve a little because our Street Smart algorithm records high depth of choice in categories like restaurants and shopping.

Some neighborhoods improved, some declined.

Some neighborhoods improved, some declined.

A More Complete Picture of Location

With these updates to the Walk Score algorithm, our expansion to over 300 cities with Transit Score and 100+ cities with Bike Score, we’re able to provide a more complete picture of what’s outside the four walls of a home or apartment.

Thanks for your support!

Portland Tops New Bike Score Ranking

In celebration of a Bike to Work Week and National Bike Month, we’ve updated our ranking of Most Bikeable Large U.S. Cities.

Portland narrowly edges out hilly San Francisco for the top spot, with Denver (home of the legendary B-cycle bike share) coming in a close third.

Bike Score

Top 10 Most Bikeable Large U.S. Cities

1. Portland (Bike Score: 70.3)

2. San Francisco (Bike Score: 70.0)

3. Denver (Bike Score: 69.5)

4. Philadelphia (Bike Score: 68.4)

5. Boston (Bike Score: 67.8)

6. Washington D.C. (Bike Score: 65.3)

7. Seattle (Bike Score: 64.1)

8. Tucson (Bike Score: 64.1)

9. New York (Bike Score: 62.3)

10. Chicago (Bike Score: 61.5)

Note: to keep our rankings apples-to-apples the list above only includes cities with 500,000 or more residents.

Smaller cities like Cambridge, MA crushed it with a Bike Score of 92 and Davis, Boulder, and Berkeley all scored in the high 80s.  Minneapolis also deserves an honorable mention with a Bike Score of 79.

Bike Score Now Available For 100+ Cities

Bike Score is now available for over 100 U.S. cities.

Type your address into the “Get a Walk Score” field at the top of this page to get your Bike Score.

Across the U.S. bicycle commuting grew 47% between 2000 and 2011. However, in cities that are making investments in bicycle infrastructure and education (which includes all of the Top 10 Bike Score cities listed above), bicycle commuting has grown 80% over the same period. This trend is leading a growing number of multi-family developers to build bike-friendly housing with secure storage spaces for bicycles and even putting repair shops in the buildings.

Find Apartments By Bike Commute Time

Search by Bike Time

Find a Bikeable Place to Live

With Walk Score’s unique apartment search by commute time you can find places to live within an easy bike commute to work.

If you’re still not biking, ask yourself if you’d like to be healthier, save money, and save the world.

More Details

 

bike-team

Bike Score: Built by bikers, for bikers!

Walk Score Ranks Australia’s Most Walkable Cities

With a Walk Score of 63, Sydney tops our first ranking of Most Walkable Australian Cities and Suburbs. To arrive at this ranking, we rated the walkablity of more than 100 Australian cities and 3,000 suburbs.  Read the official press release and our ranking methodology.

Walk Score for Sydney Australia

Australia’s 10 Most Walkable Large Cities

Sydney Australia

  1. Sydney (Walk Score: 63)
  2. Melbourne (Walk Score: 57)
  3. Adelaide (Walk Score: 54)
  4. Brisbane (Walk Score: 51)
  5. Perth (Walk Score: 50)
  6. Newcastle (Walk Score: 49)
  7. Wollongong (Walk Score: 48)
  8. Gold Coast (Walk Score: 48)
  9. Central Coast (Walk Score: 41)
  10. Canberra (Walk Score: 40)

Australians can also look up the Walk Score of their individual addresses and find Walk Score ratings on Harcourts.com.au, Homehound.com.au, WestRealEstate.com.au and other leading Australian real estate sites.

“Adding Walk Score to our real estate research products resulted in a significant uplift in our site usage,” said Tom White, CEO of PriceFinder.com.au. “The thirst for relevant and useful local information, from buyers, sellers and agents alike, cannot be overlooked and Walk Score provides this in spades. We especially appreciate the insights Walk Score brings to consumers looking to lower the cost of their transportation by selecting locations that suit their preferred transport options.”

Walkability Boosts Health and Real Estate Value

Walkable neighbourhoods offer a number of health and economic benefits. For example, a 10-year long study of Australians by the University of Melbourne found that walkable neighbourhoods with proximity to shops, parks and public transit improve people’s health and wellbeing. And, over the past decade, home values in Sydney’s walkable neighbourhoods have outperformed the rest of the city and can attract a 20% premium.

Apartment & Rental Search in Australia

Today, we’re also excited to launch our unique apartment and rental search for Australia. Search rental listings in major cities across the country by Walk Score and commute time and mode preference (foot, bike, transit, car) on the web and with our updated iPhone app.

Australian Real Estate Opportunity

Australian real estate professionals can now use Walk Score to their advantage. Showcase your properties and market yourself as a local expert. Boost your home listings with neighbourhood information including nearby amenities and commute times.

Learn more about Walk Score for real estate professionals.

Top 10 U.S. Cities to Travel Car-Free

Car-free trips might be the travel industry’s next big trend. Explore a destination by foot, rent a bike for a few hours, zip across town thanks to public transit and take a day-trip excursion via car share. You’ll save money and curb your carbon footprint. Walking around has always been the best way to see a destination and have an authentic, local experience.

What are the best US cities leisure or business travelers can visit sans car?

NYC-travel-rankingTo answer this question, we examined the Walk Score, Transit Score and availability of car shares within a 15-minute walk of more than 5,000 hotels across the U.S. These 10 cities offer more hotel rooms in walkable neighborhoods and green transportation options than any other.

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Boston
  4. Washington, DC
  5. Seattle
  6. Chicago
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Honolulu
  10. Portland

Travelers can save money, get exercise and lower their carbon footprint by walking from hotel to art museums, eateries, nightlife and shops while on a trip. And who doesn’t like the convenience of being able to get a cup of coffee, snack or drink without getting in a car?

Minneapolis didn’t make this ranking, but has the highest Bike Score in the US. Cycling and using bike shares are more ways travelers can go car-free. Meet Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association’s Brandon Vasquez says, “Being a large city for biking, we always suggest leaving the car and using the our great public transportation options, as well as the Nice Ride bike sharing program. You can access a large majority of Minneapolis on two wheels, with two feet or via the mass transit system (bus and light rail).”

Travel trends point toward growth of car-free or car-light trips:
Honolulu-travel-ranking

  • Car Share Use Grows: Travel & Leisure’s most important travel trends for 2013 highlights changing travel preferences among Millenials and the growth of transportation-sharing models including car shares, bike shares and ride sharing. The New York Times reported that the number of people belonging to car-share services grew by 44% from 2011 to 2012.
  • Bike Shares Expand: More cities are investing in bike shares where you can rent by the hour to traverse town or sightsee and many hotels rent bikes on site. Bike shares weren’t part of our city ranking for car-free travel, but several of the top 10 cities already have bike shares programs including New York, Boston, and Washington, DC.
  • Travelers Seek Savings: Development Counsellors International reports that as travelers begin hitting the road on leisure trips in larger numbers following the economic recession, one thing remains constant – regardless of the cost of the trip, consumers are looking to get the most for their dollar. Have you checked the cost to park your car at a downtown hotel recently?
  • Business Travel Shifts Gears: According to Carlson Wagonlit business travel trends in 2013, companies are looking to control ground transportation costs and to track carbon footprint and emissions from travel.

Find a Hotel Near Your Destinations

By popular demand, we extended our unique commute time search features to travel planning. With our new Hotel Search Demo you can now find hotels by travel time (by car, bus, bike or foot) to destinations, attractions or meetings and within close proximity to public transit, car shares and more.

Walk Score also just launched ChoiceMaps to show the depth of amenity choice like restaurants, public transit, car shares and bike shares. Below is a screen shot showing depth of choice of car and bike shares around Chicago. Learn more about our suite of products and services for travel providers.

choicemap-chicago-car-bike-share

 

Honolulu photo: Go Hawaii