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Car-Free Cities, Measured

The CityLab team has created a new metric to measure the U.S. cities where people are most likely to be car free.
September 25, 2019, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander created a new Metro Car-Free Index that measures the U.S. cities where people go car free in the largest numbers.

According to Florida, who writes to promote the index on CityLab, the index measures:

  • The share of households that don’t have access to their own vehicle.
  • The share of commuters who take transit to work.
  • The share of commuters who bike to work.
  • The share of commuters who walk to work.

Florida applies the index as an indicator of where it's easiest to go car free, listed by metro size. The duo's analysis also included a basic correlation analysis to identify the key characteristics associated with car-free metros. "The popularity of living without a car is only weakly related to population and density (with correlations of around .2)," according to Florida.

"Going car-free is much more closely related to America’s economic and political divides," adds Florida, so demographic factors like educational attainment, political affiliation. Florida concludes by noting another key factor in determining a car-free lifestyle: "Ironically, despite the expense of owning a car, going carless in America often requires having money. It helps if you can afford living close to where you work or near good transit, or in a walkable neighborhood with most of life’s necessities close by."

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Published on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 in CityLab
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