All posts in “transportation”

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.

Travel Time API Visualizations

Here are some visualizations we created with our recently launched Travel Time API.

Road Network Animation

Watch the network of roads in Seattle animate as we traverse the road network graph. View full screen animation. Try typing your own address into the “Where” field.

Commute Time Visualizations

This visualization shows public transit commutes from Amazon and Microsoft in Seattle. Each line represents one minute of travel time on public transit.  

Public transit commute times from Amazon and Microsoft at one minute intervals.

The visualization below shows bike commuting time from Google and Facebook in Silicon Valley, where each line represents one minute of biking time.

Bike commutes from Google and Facebook at one minute intervals.

The Walk Score Travel Time API makes it easy to create visualizations like these or add features like search by commute time to your website.  Contact us to learn more.  Thanks!

Walk Score Ranking: Top 10 U.S. Car Share Cities

A transportation shift is happening across America. Gas prices continue to rise. Car sales are down. Driver’s license ownership is declining. Car share use is up. And millennials, the largest demographic since baby boomers, are moving this trend forward across America.

Walk Score’s new car share infographic shows the top 10 car share cities with the most car share locations (pick-up and drop-off spots) and the top 3 neighborhoods in each city. Top 10 cities with hundreds of car share locations are:

  1. New York City
  2. San Francisco
  3. Chicago
  4. Portland
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Seattle
  7. San Diego
  8. Austin
  9. Miami
  10. Boston

Frequent car share user Suzzanne Lacey says, “I like that car shares allow me to have access to a car but not have to own one.” Lacey lives in a dense, but residential Seattle neighborhood and uses car shares about twice a month. “Parking is tough so along with city living and a lack of parking space, having a car just when I need one makes the most sense for my lifestyle.”

Search for Rentals by Car Share

Walk Score is the only place to search for apartments and rentals near car shares. Our “Gotta Have” apartment search allows you to filter your rental search by car shares (in addition to coffee shops and more).

More than 8,000 car share locations are listed on Walk Score, 7,500 of which are in 900 US cities. It’s easy and convenient for people to skip car ownership in favor of sharing, cutting costs, curbing their carbon footprint and living a more hassle free life. You can find car shares near your home, work or school on Walk Score’s site or iPhone app.

Notable Car Share Trends

Economic and cultural changes are driving the increase in car share use.

  • Car shares save money: Average cost of owning a car is $9,859, while the average hourly cost of a car share is $9.64. If you drive less than 2.5 hours a day, a car share could save you money.
  • According to the New York Times, “Last year, about 800,000 people belonged to car-sharing services in the United States, a 44 percent increase from 2011….”
  • The millennial generation is ditching their cars in droves: “The share of new cars purchased by those aged 18-34 dropped 30% in the last five years, according to the car shopping web site Edmunds.com.” Source: CNN Money
  • Driver’s license ownership down: “According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, just 28% of 16-year-olds and 45% of 17-year-olds had driver’s licences in 2010 (the most recent data available). In 1978, the corresponding figures were nearly half and more than two-thirds.” Source: The Globe and Mail
  • Automakers are taking note: Ford Motor Company released a report on the rapidly rapidly changing auto trends. “Car-sharing services…, carpooling by Gen Yers, bike sharing and ‘multi-mix forms of mobility’ are all explored as signs of how consumers are changing their car habits,” writes Adweek.
  • Americans drive fewer miles: Is the recession causing a temporary blip in car ownership and miles driven? Trends show the shift is more permanent. “…the move away from cars is bigger than the U.S. (and bigger than the recession).” Source: The Atlantic. A DC Streets Blog analysis reports, “Since 2005, Americans have been driving fewer miles each year. While the shift predated the onset of the Great Recession, the question of whether the decline in driving marked a sea change in the way we get around or simply reflected a drop in economic activity has been a matter of considerable debate.”
  • Gas prices keep rising: It’s no surprise to anyone who fuels up. Aside from disposable income being less than any time in decades, gas prices keep rising, making car ownership costs also rise.
  • Car shares offer self-service convenience: Car shares can be rented by the hour 24/7 vs. traditional rental car companies which often require a 1-day minimum rental. You can take public transit to work, then use a car share for a 1-way trip home to grocery shop. Car share locations are all over cities and residential neighborhoods vs. a centrally located rental car office, making car sharing part of every life vs. only on vacation.

Car Share Infographic: Top 10 U.S. Car Sharing Cities

Car Share Infographic Footnotes