All posts in “Transit”

New York Ranks Best City for Public Transit in 2016

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Transit Score Now Available for 350 U.S. Cities and More Than 10,000 Neighborhoods Across the Country

New York is the best city for public transit in the U.S., according to the 2016 Transit Score ranking. New York’s Transit Score increased 2.9 points to 84.1 from 81.2 in the last published ranking in 2014. We describe an address, neighborhood or city with a Transit Score of between 70 and 89 as having excellent transit, and a place scoring between 90 and 100 as a “rider’s paradise.”

In September, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) celebrated the first addition to New York City’s subway system in 26 years with the extension of the 7 line to the new 34th St.-Hudson Yards Station, connecting riders to the Javits Center, the High Line, the Hudson River Park and surrounding commercial and residential developments.

Below is a ranking of the top 10 U.S. cities (with populations of more than 300,000) for public transit.

Rank City Transit Score
1 New York, NY 84.1
2 San Francisco, CA 80.4
3 Boston, MA 74.4
4 Washington, DC 70.6
5 Philadelphia, PA 66.8
6 Chicago, IL 64.7
7 Miami, FL 59.4
8 Baltimore, MD 57.8
9 Minneapolis, MN 57.5
10 Seattle, WA 57.0

“Urban dwellers today want convenience,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “Particularly in congested urban areas, a car may be the slowest way to get around the city. Homes near bus and subway lines tend to have higher values that hold up even during housing downturns. The fact that many cities are also investing in alternative forms of transit, like bike share, indicates how highly prized access to transit is by their residents.”

With the addition of 130 new U.S. cities and more than 3,000 new neighborhoods, Transit Score ratings are now available for 350 cities and more than 10,000  neighborhoods. Among the newly added cities are big ones like Phoenix (32.2) and Detroit (37.9), as well as smaller cities with big Transit Score ratings like Union City, NJ (80.2) and State College, PA (63.7). For a full ranking of U.S. cities by Transit Score, click here.

“After schools, access to public transportation is what New Jersey homebuyers ask about most frequently,” said Nick Boniakowski, Redfin market manager. “We spend a lot of time with our clients researching nearby bus and rail routes and stops, so being able to easily see that Union City, for example, has a higher Transit Score than pricier Jersey City (70) gives buyers another easy way to compare and evaluate homes, neighborhoods and cities.”

None of the cities on the list score in the rider’s paradise range, from 90 to 100. However, individual neighborhoods in many cities are riders’ paradises, like Boston’s Bay Village (100), Philadelphia’s Logan Square (100), The Loop (99.1) in Chicago and Belltown (98.1) in Seattle. Some cities that didn’t make the top 10 list are home to riders’ paradises, including downtown Pittsburgh (97.1), Old Town Chinatown (92.2) in Portland, OR and downtown Houston (92.8).

Old Town Chinatown has basically every kind of public transportation imaginable, including a streetcar that zips around town (and is free of charge), the MAX light rail, a high-speed train that connects to a variety of suburbs and the airport, as well as a new Greyhound bus line and the Amtrak station,” said Redfin agent Megan Ronning. “Homebuyers in the greater Portland area are very drawn to the accessibility of its downtown neighborhoods and even the surrounding suburbs.”

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

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.

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

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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.

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Tell Apple that Transit Directions Matter

Transit Directions Matter

Yesterday Apple Computer announced that new versions of the iPhone will not have public transit directions built-in (more).

Do you think that public transit directions on your phone are important?

If so, tell Apple that transit directions matter.

Correction: We incorrectly reported below that iOS 6 does not have walking directions based on articles from PC World and Gizmodo. Well, we weren’t the first to get it wrong but hopefully we’re the first to correct it. Thanks to @Philoviridae and others for pointing this out.

Apple Removing Walking and Transit from iPhone

At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday, Apple announced the details of iOS 6 (the new iPhone and iPad operating system). iOS 6 does not have public transit and walking directions.

We believe that having transit directions on your phone helps public transit work better for everyone, so we’re asking you to join us in requesting this feature from Apple.

Ask Apple to keep public transit and walking directions.

I’d be lost without transit directions on my phone!

Walk on!

New Ranking of Transit Systems

Today we’re announcing our first ranking of of U.S. city transit systems based on residents’ access to public transportation. (Read the official press release.)

To compute our rankings, we calculated the Transit Score of over 1 million locations in the largest 25 cities that provide open public transit data (hey Atlanta and Phoenix you’re among the largest cities that don’t provide open public transit data!).

Transit Score measures how well a location is served by public transit by assigning a “usefulness” value to nearby transit routes based on frequency, route type, and distance to the nearest stop on the route.  Type an address into Walk Score to get your personal Transit Score.

City scores are calculating by applying the Transit Score algorithm block-by-block throughout the city using a population-weighted methodology.  Transit geeks can read our detailed methodology.

Here’s a Transit Score map of San Francisco (our #2 rated city with a score of 80):

Transit Score Map of San Francisco

Transit Score Map of San Francisco

You can see the blue and pink area of very high scores near the concentration of BART and bus routes downtown.  You can also see circles of high scores around the various BART, MUNI, and bus stops.

The #1 city in the rankings is New York (New Yorkers are never surprised when they are #1) — and it’s just phenomenal how far you can travel in 30 minutes on transit in NYC.  Here is the 30 minute transit shed from Grand Central Station:

New York City 30 Minute Transit Shed

New York City 30 Minute Transit Shed

Heading to the gas pump is about as much fun as getting a root canal. As gas prices rise, is leaving your car at home (or not owning a car) an option?  If the answer is no, Walk Score can help you find an apartment or rental home with a great commute, with nearby public transit, and that’s close to the places and people you love.

Did you know:

• Riding public transportation saves individuals on average over $10,000 a year.
• Americans took over 10 billion trips on public transportation in 2011.
• The average annual number of vehicle miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) in the U.S. decreased 23 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Happy transit riding!

Correction:  In our April 2012 Transit Score ranking, we incorrectly gave Minneapolis a Transit Score of 69.  We discovered an underlying data issue where we were receiving duplicate stop and route data from multiple Minnesota transit agencies.  Specifically, the Minnesota Valley transit authority was including Minneapolis / St. Paul Metro Transit data in their feed.  We have corrected this issue.

 

Apartment Search for the Car-Lite Lifestyle

Wish you could spend less time in your car? Our new Apartment Search features are for you!

Search by Multiple Commute Times

Just six weeks ago we launched apartment search by commute time. Now we’ve added the ability to search by multiple commutes.

Let’s say you bike to work downtown and your spouse or roommate takes the bus to school.  Walk Score finds apartments that optimize the commute of everyone in your home.  See an example commute search.

Find Apartments Near Transit

Want to find an apartment within walking distance of the subway or the express bus that goes to your office?

No problem, with our new “Near Transit” search option you can select the transit route that you’d like to live near and how far you’re willing to walk to the stop. See transit search in action.

Search by Walk Score

Whether you want to be in the heart of it all, or just don’t want to have to drive to get a cup of coffee, Apartment Search now includes the ability to search by Walk Score.

Select the Walk Score search filter and click Walker’s Paradise to find only Walk Score 90+ apartments. See Walker’s Paradise apartments in Seattle.

Did you know:

  • The longer your commute, the more likely you are to be overweight, have high cholesterol and suffer from neck/back pain (Source: Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index)
  • Car ownership costs are the second largest household expense in the U.S. The average household spends more on their cars than they do on food and health care. (Source: Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • People who live in walkable neighborhoods are happier, healthier and more likely to volunteer and entertain friends at home (Source: University of New Hampshire)

Transit Score on Your Site

Building on the success of the Walk Score API and Amenity Map currently used by over 4,000 websites, yesterday we also launched our Public Transit API which enables Web developers to easily add public transportation information to their websites.

With the Public Transit API, real estate and other website owners can show nearby public transit stops on a map, show a text description of nearby transit stops and routes, and show the Transit Score of a specific location.

And we’re excited that ZipRealty is the first brokerage firm to integrate Transit Score into their website.

“A growing number of home shoppers are seeking out homes that offer strong public transit options, high walkabilty scores and green features,” said ZipRealty’s Chief Home Hunter Leslie Tyler. “Showing Transit Score ratings for all home listings on our website gives our clients additional information about alternative transportation that they need before making an offer on a home.”

Read ZipRealty’s press release.

Almost a year ago we asked Is ZipRealty the Greenest Real Estate Site? What do you think?

Introducing Transit Score and Commute Reports

When deciding where to live and work, not only do you want to know what amenities and services are nearby, you also want to understand your transportation options. How easily can you walk, bike or take the bus? How long will it take to get from point A to point B? And how much will it cost?

Last year, with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation, we set out to address these questions. And building on the initial integration of public transit information into Walk Score and the launch of City-Go-Round, today we are pleased to take another step forward in promoting transparency around transportation choices.

Our new Transit Score and custom Commute Reports empower anyone to quickly understand the proximity of public transportation and their commuting options.

Read the official press release.

What’s your Transit Score?

Transit Score of Boston

Similar to Walk Score, Transit Score provides a 0-100 rating indicating how well an address is served by public transportation. Ratings range from “Rider’s Paradises” that have world-class bus and rail service to areas with limited or no nearby public transportation. Transit Score is currently available in over 40 cities where public transit information is available. These cities include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.

What will your commute be like?

Commute Report in Seattle

After you’ve looked up an address on Walk Score, you can now get a summary of commuting options, including the time it would take to get to your work, school or other location by car, bike and foot and to see nearby public transit stops and routes. The customized commute report also includes a visual representation of the hills between your home and work to better understand how bikable or walkable the route may be.

Can you really afford this home?

Housing and Transportation Costs

For most families, transportation is the second largest household expense. Walk Score’s new home and transportation costs calculator makes it easier for people to understand the true costs of owning or renting in a particular location. Based on a few simple pieces of information, the calculator generates an estimated monthly amount that includes housing and transportation costs.

In particular, we’d like to thank Benjamin de la Pena, Associate Director at The Rockefeller Foundation, and the team at the Center for Neighborhood Technology who have been great partners on this initiative.

What can we learn from Japanese real estate listings?

Real estate listings in Japan show the walking distance to the nearest subway station.

Below is a screenshot from the front page of Yahoo! Real Estate in Japan.  See the big picture of a train?

Picking the subway line or subway station near where you’d like to live is the primary way to search for a home or apartment on many Japanese real estate websites.  Picking the subway line comes before picking your price range, before picking the number of bedrooms, before picking a neighborhood, etc.  Exotic, isn’t it?!

Search by Subway Line – Front Page of Yahoo! Real Estate Japan

Here I’ve selected the Yamanote line to search for properties.  Real estate near the Yamanote line is desirable and expensive (more on why below).

Now I can select the subway stations on the Yamanote line where I’d like to search for real estate.

Search for Properties by Subway Station

Now I see the list of properties near the subway stations I’ve selected.

And drum roll please…  each property shows the walking distance to the nearest subway station!

In fact, my Japanese sources (pictured at the bottom of this post) tell me that the walking distance to the nearest subway station is the thing they look at first on a real estate listing.

Property Listings Show Walking Distance to Subway Stations

 

What is Transit-Oriented Development?

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is mixed-use residential and commercial development designed to maximize access to public transit.  TOD is a hot topic among urban planners right now—but Japan has been doing it for decades!

Why did Japanese real estate evolve this way? It turns out that Japanese rail companies built their subway lines on land they already owned—and these same companies developed the real estate around the subway lines. This ensured that there were enough people within walking distance of the subway.  In other words, the subway lines and real estate were developed together… which is exactly transit-oriented development!

An interesting side effect of this process is that the companies who built the subway lines tended to develop similar real estate along the entire line.  For example, a luxury company would develop high-end real estate along their subway line.  This is why real estate on the Yamanote line is considered desirable and is expensive—it was developed to be luxurious!  Imagine if people in the Bay Area said, “I’ve always wanted to live on the Pittsburgh / Bay Point line.  The real estate along that line is really choice.”

Public Transit on U.S. Real Estate Listings

As more cities in the U.S. benefit from transit-oriented development (like the Seattle light rail that is being extended as I type this) we expect to see more real estate listings showing nearby transit.

Walk Score has already helped hundreds of real estate sites show nearby public transit on their listings and we’re considering making our public transit data available via an API.  Contact us if you’re interested in showing public transit on your site.

Thanks to Takeshi and Yasuo from NHK TV in Japan who came to our offices to interview us about Walk Score—little did they know I was going to interview them about Japanese real estate!

I’m @mrlerner on Twitter.

Announcing City-Go-Round – Find Transit Apps in Your City

We’ve now added transit data from 80+ agencies to Walk Score as part of our grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

While adding transit to Walk Score we realized there was a larger opportunity to:

  1. Highlight all the great apps that use public transit data
  2. Show which transit agencies do and don’t provide open data to software developers

Announcing City-Go-Round

So today we’re launching a new site called City-Go-Round where you can search for innovative transit apps and websites in your city. You can also check whether your transit agency provides open data.

Find apps in your city:
www.CityGoRound.org

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Read the City-Go-Round press release.

These Apps are Rad

We had no idea how many innovative transit apps were already out there.  Here are some of our favorites:

One Bus Away: Find out exactly where your bus is in Seattle.  Check City-Go-Round to see if your city has a real-time arrival app.

one-bus

Acrossair: Hold your iPhone up to see augmented-reality transit maps.  Whoa, the future is now.

acrossair

Exit Strategy NYC: Perhaps the most creative app we’ve seen, Exit Strategy NYC shows you where to stand so you can get out of the subway station faster!

exitstrategy

A huge thank you to Benjamin de la Peña and team at the Rockefeller Foundation for supporting City-Go-Round and public transit on Walk Score.

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3 New Transit Agencies Open Their Data

Less than one week after we launched transit on Walk Score, 3 new transit agencies have opened their data and are now live on Walk Score:

  • Cleveland, OH Regional Transit Authority
  • Kansas City, MO KCATA
  • San Diego, CA North County Transit District

Kudos to these forward-looking transit agencies!

But get this… Over 400+ transit agencies have made their public transit feeds available to Google—but only 40+ have made that data available to the public!

Sign our petition to open up transit data.

Transit in Cleveland, OH

Transit in Cleveland, OH