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The Best American Cities for Public Transit

New York City skylineThere are many things to consider when homebuyers decide where to hunt for a new house. While issues such as affordability, taxes, and safety are all key factors, the ability to actually get around town can be a major concern as well. Living within walking distance isn’t possible for most people, so availability of public transportation can impact whether a market becomes a hotbed for home shoppers or cools off instead. Now Redfin has ranked the best American cities in terms of public transportation. Knowing which American cities earned the best Transit rating could prove another important factor to keep in mind for investors deciding where to plant their financial seeds.

Redfin’s Transit Score rankings evaluate cities based on “how convenient they are to public transportation.” In other words, is public transportation an option for most jaunts around town? If so, is it actually convenient, or would a trip by bus require hiring an Uber to get to the station on the other side of town?

New York tops Redfin’s list with a Transit Score of 85.3, up 1.2 points over 2016 and holding first place for the second year in a row. New York is practically synonymous with public transportation, so there’s definitely no surprise there. In fact, the order of the top 6 best cities for public transportation has remained unchanged since Redfin launched Transit Score in 2012. San Francisco holds second place with a score of 80.4, unchanged since 2016. Boston is third, down 1.8 points year-over-year with a Transit Score of 72.6. From there, the rest of the top 10 includes Washington, D.C. (68.5), Philadelphia (66.8), Chicago (65.0), Seattle (59.6), Minneapolis (57.6), Baltimore (57.2), and Honolulu (57.2).

“Seattle is not only the coolest city in the country—we are now one of the most transit-friendly cities,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “For our visitors, commuters, and residents, public transit is safe, affordable, and a vital component in making sure our city is accessible to all. With the opening of new light rail stations and one of the highest bus riderships in the country, Seattle is making significant strides towards becoming a world-class transit city.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also weighed in on the results, saying, “Honolulu has been a public transportation city for many years now and the fact that our residents and visitors use TheBus an average of 214,000 trips every weekday is a testament to this fact. The new Transit Score ranking announced today by Redfin is proof that the nearly 2,000 workers who keep our bus system running strive for excellence each and every day, and our commitment to a transit system that covers all of O’ahu will only improve once our rail project begins service along our busiest and most populated corridor.”

Raleigh, North Carolina saw the largest Transit Score increase for the year, up 6.3 points year-over-year to 28.9. Raleigh was also recently listed as one of the top housing rental investment markets for 2018 by Forbes and Local Market Monitor, coming in fourth behind Orlando, Florida; Provo-Orem, Utah; and Jacksonville, Florida.

The rest of the top 5 cities that saw the largest yearly score increases include Phoenix, Arizona (+3.8); Aurora, Colorado (+3.5); Seattle, Washington (+2.6); and Atlanta, Georgia (+1.7).

Redfin’s Transit Score algorithm calculates its scores by “summing the relative usefulness of public transit (bus, subway, light rail, ferry, etc.) routes near a given location. Usefulness is defined as the distance to the nearest stop on the route, the frequency of the route, and type of route (with twice as much weight given to heavy/light rail than to bus service). Transit Score is based on data published in General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format by transit agencies across the country.”

You can read the full Redfin report by clicking here.

About Author: David Wharton

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