10 cities where you don’t need a car

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Is the future without a car?

Basic points

  • Ditching your car can easily save you thousands each year in gas, maintenance and insurance costs.
  • The most walkable cities are usually those with extensive public transportation systems that help you avoid the need for cars.
  • The extensive use of bike lanes also contributes to a car-free life in many of these cities.

Cars are a pain. You have to wash them, feed them, repair them, store them, insure them — and it all costs money. A lot of money. And this is post you drop a small fortune just to get one in the first place.

But what if you could live a life without cars? For many of us, this is simply not practical. Many modern cities and suburbs are literally designed around cars. However, there are still plenty of places where it’s not only possible to be car-free, it’s actually preferable.

Living without a car tends to mean one of two things: a really small town — or a really big one. To get an idea of ​​which cities make car-free living more practical, we looked for places with the best public transit systems. Here’s what we found:

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Top cities for car-free travel in the US

The best public transportation in the US is in its largest cities, especially those that predate the automobile. They tend to rely on a mix of subways and buses, with some also having less common means of transport such as trolleys and ferries.

  • New York, New York: New York’s famous subway system is the most extensive in the US, with more than 470 stations. Combined with the city bus system (and extensive taxi services), you can get almost anywhere, which is why more than half of the city’s households are car-free.
  • Boston, MA: Known locally as the T, Boston’s MBTA is one of the simplest — but still efficient — systems, using four color-coded rail lines as well as a number of buses and trolleys. Boston is also fairly safe for those walking, with fewer than a dozen pedestrian deaths each year.
  • San Francisco, CA: While we’ve probably all seen the city’s famous cable cars depicted in film and television, San Francisco’s vast public transportation system also includes subways, buses, and streetcars. This system is a big part of why, despite its numerous hills, San Francisco also ranks as the most walkable city in the country.
  • Portland, OR: Portland has a wide range of public transportation options, including a vast network of buses, a streetcar, a commuter rail, and the Portland Streetcar system. It’s also an excellent bike. the city has over 385 miles of bike lanes and the highest percentage of bike commuters in the country.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Getting around Philly without a car isn’t difficult thanks in large part to the trains, subways, buses and trolleys that cover 52 square miles. Once you’re off transit, you’re also in one of the top five most walkable cities in the US
  • Washington: The country’s capital is also one of the most walkable, thanks in large part to its busy public transport system. The subway offers 25 routes that bring countless tourists to the city each year, while also bringing in thousands of commuters daily from nearby Virginia and Maryland.
  • Seattle, Washington: Despite being surrounded by many waterways, it’s easy to be without a car in Seattle. Not only do you have 22 public transit routes, including buses, trams, and streetcars, but you also have Seattle’s iconic ferries to get you from coast to coast.
  • Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis has all the public transportation options you could want, with streetcars, buses, and commuter trains covering 56 square miles. In addition, Minneapolis is also considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in the US, with more than 200 bike lanes and paths.
  • Jersey City, NJ: More than half of Jersey City residents use public transit, especially those commuting to nearby New York City. They can make use of an extensive rail and bus system and manage many of their daily activities entirely on foot.
  • Chicago, IL: Chicago’s extensive public transportation system covers a huge amount of ground, serving 35 suburbs by train and bus. It also has more than 200 miles of bike lanes and 13,000 bike racks across the city.

How much can you save without a car?

Looking at the cities on this list, you might question the cost of living without a car. After all, these are some of the most expensive places to live in the country. But if you deduct the cost of car ownership, how much can you save living in one of these cities?

According to AAA, that number is over $10,000. Its figures show the average cost of owning and operating a new car is $10,728 a year. And that’s just the average. many people pay much, much more.

Even if you exclude car payments — which is no small amount, with the typical new car costing you $30,000 or more — simply insuring your car can cost thousands. In fact, drivers pay an average of $2,875 a year for car insurance, and that cost adds up if you actually have to file a claim.

Then there’s the gas and the inevitable expensive repairs. All in all, moving to a more expensive city where you don’t need a car could end up being a wash in terms of your finances.

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