Judy Rae

15 Cities Where You Can Live Car-Free

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It can be costly to own and operate a car in the United States. From fuel costs to the expenses related to maintenance and insurance, not to mention the costs for the purchase of the vehicle itself. Further, over 20% of the working population now uses public transportation to get to work and to run daily errands. That percentage will only continue to grow as the costs of owning and maintaining a vehicle increase, and improvements in public transportation options are made.

Four Benefits to Living Car-Free

If you live in a city where public transportation is readily available, you may want to consider going car-free. Thankfully, aside from the costs listed above that you could save, there are several other benefits too.

If you are thinking of trading in a car with mechanical problems, or are thinking of selling your car, you’ll appreciate these additional advantages to car-free living.

 

  1. Less stress. Driving can be very stressful as can be the responsibilities of car ownership. With public transportation schedules that can align with just about any day to day requirements, going car-free can make life easier and less costly.

 

2. Improved health. Though your car is likely parked right outside your door or is easily accessed parked on a nearby street in a lot close by, you probably don’t have to venture too far to find it. Having your own vehicle seriously limits the amount of exercise that you get every day (unless you are driving it to a gym). Walking to and from public transportation is good for your health. The average American only walks 3,000 to 4,000 footsteps per day. For good health, however, it is recommended that we get closer to 10,000. Walking to the bus stop or subway location can help you rack up the footsteps, and as a result, improve your health.

 

3. Better personal safety. Sure, public transportation occasionally gets a bad rap, and bad things do happen. However, it is essential to consider that the media only focuses on when those bad things happen. After all, those are the headlines that sell. In reality, public transportation is very safe, and millions of people use it every day with no concerns. On the flip side, walking to and from your parked car in the dark and driving alone in certain areas can be far more dangerous.

 

4. Lowered pollution. The fewer vehicles on the road, the better it is for our environment. Automobiles are the biggest driver of pollution in the United States. Your vehicle also contributes to smog and acid rain. When you share a ride with others, you are doing your part to reduce nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

The Top 15 Cities Where you Can Live – Without a Car 

 

If you don’t live in a big city now but like the idea of big city living, or if you are open to relocation, check out this list of the best cities where you can live without a car.

 

  1. New York, New York – Of course, this list needs to start with the city that never sleeps. Though the city has a high cost of living, public transportation is at its best with buses, subways, and amazing walkability year-round.

 

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota – With a population of just over 425,000, Minneapolis is the home to Fortune 500 companies such as Target, Best Buy, General Mills, 3M, Supervalu, Ecolab, Ameriprise Financial, Polaris Industries, Xcel Energy, and more. Minnesota as a whole is known for its great outdoor experiences and is also a cultural powerhouse that is great for foodies, art lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The city has recently made significant steps in adding to its public transportation system. Both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul offer skyway systems making it easy to get from building to building.

 

3. Madison, Wisconsin – Madison is believed to be one of the more relaxing big cities in the United States. Further, the bus system offers approximately 230 buses with more than 2,000 stops around the city frequently throughout the day.

 

  1. Arlington, Virginia – This city is located right along the Potomac River yet features cosmopolitan living. Arlington’s public transportation system is ranked as one of the best in the United States.

 

4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – A very bike-friendly city, Philly boasts the Septa system which serves over 1.3 million customers each day with a train, bus, subway, and trolly system.

 

6. Austin, Texas – Austin is well known for its variety of outdoor activities and is also an excellent place for young entrepreneurs. The city offers public transportation consisting of dedicated bike trails for those who want to stay fit and bus and light rail systems.

 

7. Dallas, Texas – Home of the famous television show from the early 1980s, Dallas is well ranked for employment, reasonable rent prices, and overall economic prosperity. Further, their DART public transportation system offers 64 rail stations and 14 bus transfer stations.

 

8. Miami, Florida – Miami is one of the best cities for walkability, making it a great place to get footsteps while enjoying the beautiful weather. Miami boasts a commuter rail system, a Monorail system, an elevated people-moving system, bus system, and a free trolley system in various parts of the city.

 

9. Flagstaff, Arizona – If the heat, humidity, and never-ending nightlife of Miami aren’t for you, you might prefer the dry and desert air of Flagstaff. This city is located right at the base of the San Francisco Peaks and caters to college students. Flagstaff is highly walkable and also offers the Mountain Line public transportation system.

 

10. Seattle, WashingtonResidents of Seattle love the city for the various outdoor activities it offers, such as walking, cycling, hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing. Seattle is also ranked high for walkability, plus it offers a variety of public transportation systems.

 

11. Portland, Oregon – Portland is a great city for recent college graduates looking to start roots. The city has over 600 buses operating and has over 60 miles of light rail service.

 

12. Denver, Colorado – If you are a skier, then Denver may be just the place for you. And if you are looking to live car-free, you’ll be pleased to know that Denver offers bus and light rail systems. Further, many Denver residents use their bikes for their commute during the non-snowy months.

 

13. Aspen, Colorado – If you love the Colorado Mountains but don’t want the same big city life as Dallas, Aspen might be a great fit, especially if you like to ski. Aspen is highly walkable, even in snowy months. Further, there are free shuttle routes to help you get to work.

 

14. Baltimore, Maryland – Baltimore boasts 12 private and public colleges, making it great for those looking to earn their degree while enjoying a big city. Further, their public transit system includes light rail options and plenty of commuter buses and a subway system.

 

15. St. Louis, Missouri – Known for its famous arch, which is popular amongst tourists, St. Louis is also straightforward to get around. Biking is quite popular among residents, and certain neighborhoods are ranked as highly walkable. Further, St. Louis offers a Metrobus system and a MetroLink with over 62 miles of track and 37 stations.

 

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