Cities With the Shortest Commutes

U.S. News and World Report selects "15 Cities for People Who Hate Driving and Long Commutes," choosing the cities with shorter than average commuting times and high percentages of non-auto commuters.

Cambridge, Massachussetts comes out on top.

"The list is heavy on college towns, for a few good reasons: Such places are good fits for nondrivers because they are often compact and dense, and they often have liberal populations that demand more investment in public transportation."

Full Story: 15 Cities for People Who Hate Driving and Long Commutes



Why this list is wrong

College towns like Boulder and Davis may have short commutes for residents, but due to high housing costs, plenty of people who work there actually live outside of town and DRIVE to work. The cost of living in these towns is quite high, especially for entry level workers who cannot afford to rent, much less purchase a house. So even though the towns are walkable and bikeable once you get there, you are probably driving more than 20 minutes to get to work.
Even local cycling organizations question the City of Boulder's data on commuting because so many Boulder workers live elsewhere--see "Pedaling Revolution" by Jeff Mapes.

Mary E. Reynolds, AICP

Good point, Mary

That's a good point, Mary.

Every time some magazine prints a list like this, someone disagrees with the findings. Perhaps we should be writing the lists!

Another meaningless list...

All this list says is that small cities (e.g. Boulder, Davis, Madison, etc.) are easier to get around in than big cities. So what else is new...?


Portland is all hype

For all the hype over Portland with its light rail transit and its promotion as the shining example of "smart growth." you would think that the average commute there would be much shorter, but it is actually only slightly better than the national average. That is because Portland doesn't control growth and what planners call "smart growth" there is actually urban cramming, and there are continuously many more vehicles being added to their road network annually. So for all the gains its makes from its alternate transportation options, it really isn't much better off than the average American city.

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