Study Ranks Transit Systems Of Major U.S. Cities

Walk Score research reveals which U.S. cities offer best transit alternatives to rising gas prices.

Apr 26, 2012, 08:30 ET from Walk Score

SEATTLE, April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Walk Score®, the only site that makes it easy for apartment renters and home buyers to find neighborhoods where they can drive less and live more, announced today a new ranking of U.S. city transit systems based on residents' access to public transportation. New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington D.C. top the list, while cities such as Houston, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Columbus, Ohio are among the cities in the bottom half of the ranking.

"Heading to the gas pump this season is about as much fun as getting a root canal. With gas prices expected to hit new highs, more people are riding transit, walking and biking to save money," said Walk Score CEO, Josh Herst. "And being able to leave your car at home more often is great for your wallet, your waistline and the environment."

As gas prices rise and consumers seek shorter commutes and more sustainable transportation options, demand for convenient access to public transit is growing. This lifestyle shift is being led by the Millennial generation (those born roughly between 1980 and 2000) that is choosing to own cars and drive less than their predecessors.

  • Riding public transportation saves individuals on average over $10,000 a year.[1]
  • Americans took over 10 billion trips on public transportation in 2011.[2]
  • 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. [3]

Ranking of Major U.S. City Transit Systems

Walk Score's first ranking of U.S. city transit systems (rated by its Transit Score® index) reveals which cities offer residents the best access to public transportation. Transit Score, the only national, quantitative rating of access to public transit, measures how well a location is served by public transportation, and is based on data released in a standard open format by public transit agencies.

(1) New York (Transit Score: 81)
(2) San Francisco (Transit Score: 80)
(3) Boston (Transit Score: 74)
(4) Washington, DC (Transit Score: 69)
(5) Philadelphia (Transit Score: 68)
(6) Chicago (Transit Score: 65)
(7) Seattle (Transit Score: 59)
(8) Miami (Transit Score: 57)
(9) Baltimore (Transit Score: 57)
(10) Portland (Transit Score: 50)
(11) Los Angeles (Transit Score: 49)
(12) Milwaukee (Transit Score: 49)
(13) Denver (Transit Score: 47)
(14) Cleveland (Transit Score: 45)
(15) San Jose (Transit Score; 40)
(16) Dallas (Transit Score: 39)
(17) Houston (Transit Score: 36)
(18) San Diego (Transit Score: 36)
(19) San Antonio (Transit Score: 35)
(20) Kansas City (Transit Score: 34)
(21) Austin (Transit Score: 33)
(22) Sacramento (Transit Score: 32)
(23) Las Vegas (Transit Score: 32)
(24) Columbus (Transit Score: 29)
(25) Raleigh (Transit Score: 23)

"Walk Score's transit ratings are a great way for people to quickly and easily understand how well their home, neighborhood and city is served by public transit," said Harriett Tregoning, Director of the Washington DC Office of Planning. "In Washington DC we're proud of our transit system; Metrorail alone carries more than 200 million riders a year.  And as gas, parking and other car related costs continue to rise, easy access to public transit is increasingly a key decision making factor for people deciding where to live."

How Transit Score Works

Transit Score measures how well a location is served by public transportation on a 0-100 scale.  Places with scores of 70 or higher are considered to have excellent transit, places with scores between 50 and 69 have good transit, and places with scores below 50 offer some or minimal transit.  To calculate a Transit Score, Walk Score assigns a "usefulness" value to nearby transit routes based on frequency, type of route, and distance to the nearest stop on the route.  City scores are then calculated by applying the Transit Score algorithm block-by-block throughout the city and weighting the scores by population density.  Detailed methodology information is available at

Visit to find your city, neighborhood and home's Transit Score.

About Walk Score

Walk Score makes it easy for apartment renters and homebuyers to find neighborhoods where they can drive less and live more. Walk Score believes that walkable neighborhoods with access to public transit, shorter commutes, and proximity to the people and places you love is the key to a happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Walk Score delivers more than 6 million scores for apartment and home addresses per day across a network of over 15,000 real estate sites. Walk Score's Advisory Board includes urban planning, environmental and technical experts from organizations such as Sightline Institute and The Brookings Institution.  According to independent research conducted by CEOs for Cities, one point of Walk Score adds up to $3,000 to home values. To find your Walk Score, enter your address at


Media contact: Anne Taylor Hartzell /  206.850.6501

SOURCE Walk Score