These Are the Best U.S. Cities to Live in Without a Car

These Are the Best U.S. Cities to Live in Without a Car

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Photo: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva (Shutterstock)

Owning—or at least having access to—a car or another type of vehicle is a necessity in most parts of the United States, but this wasn’t always the case.

Once upon the time, in the first half of the 20th century, cities across America with populations of all sizes had relatively extensive networks of streetcars, trolleys, buses, and ferries that shuttled residents around urban areas, while multiple regional train lines provided a way to travel longer distances.

But that all shifted following World War II, when suburbs and highways were constructed, and cities were altered to accommodate cars. That said, there are some cities where it’s easier to live without a car than others (in 2023). Here’s what to know.

How the cities were selected and ranked

In order to compile this list and rank the cities, the team at CoworkingCafe analyzed data from 331 U.S. cities with a population of more than 100,000 using metrics including:

  • Share of the adult population that uses public transportation
  • Share of the adult population that prefers to walk
  • Share of the adult population that prefers to bike
  • Share of the adult population that commutes using cabs, motorcycles, or other similar vehicles
  • The density of public transit stations per square mile
  • The average price of an adult base fare on public transportation

Finally, each city is given a total score out of a possible 100 points, then ranked.

You can read more about their methodology here.

The best U.S. cities to live in without a car

Here are the top 10 best U.S. cities to live in without owning a vehicle, according to the CoworkingCafe report:

  1. Boston, MA – Total Points: 57.2
  2. Newark, NJ – Total Points: 55.3
  3. New York City, NY – Total Points: 54.6
  4. Washington, D.C. – Total Points: 51
  5. San Francisco, CA – Total Points: 48.7
  6. Philadelphia, PA – Total Points: 42
  7. Seattle, WA – Total Points: 41.3
  8. Oakland, CA – Total Points: 39.5
  9. Madison, WI – Total Points: 38.2
  10. Pittsburgh, PA – Total Points: 37.8

Ideally, the country’s highest-ranking city would manage to score more than 57.2 out of 100, so there’s definitely room for improvement, including among the top-10 locations. But for now, there are at least a few options for those without a car, or who want to be less reliant on theirs.

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