Two Pa. Cities Rank in Top 10 for Commuting Options for Residents Without a Car

By Kim Shindle | June 30, 2023 | 3 min. read

Pennsylvania’s two largest cities made the top 10 best cities in the U.S. to live without a car, according to a study by CoworkingCafe. The study analyzed 331 U.S. cities, looking at the percentage of the population who uses public transportation and those who commute by walking, biking or by cabs/motorcycles/other similar vehicles. The study also looked at the stations’ and bike lanes’ densities, as well as the average price of the adult fare, among other metrics.

Philadelphia ranked sixth in the top best places to live without a personal car. The city has a reliable infrastructure for public transportation, which is reflected by the high share of residents who use it for their daily commute. In fact, nearly a quarter of the total population uses public transportation. Philly’s density of bus, metro and train stations helped place it high on the list, with more than two stations per square mile, making it easy for residents to use any means of public transportation, no matter what their location is in the city.

“Bus lines, trolley, regional rail and subway comprise Philadelphia’s robust public transit system that connects to all city neighborhoods and out into the adjacent suburbs,” said Roderick Walker, president of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors®. “Many city neighborhoods have thriving commercial corridors within short walking distance. And Philadelphia has hundreds of miles of bike lanes and a well-established and affordable bike share program.”

“Center City and the surrounding neighborhoods are in a basic grid pattern making it easy to navigate,” he added. “The downtown doesn’t empty out after 5 p.m. either. It’s a place to work, call home and have fun. Everything is just a short walk, rideshare or bike ride away.”

Coming in at No. 10 on the list was Pittsburgh, due to the options the city offers for commutes. The survey found that Steel City residents prefer walking as a means to travel. Pittsburgh also ranks high in terms of coworking space density with almost nine per 100,000 residents for those who require a flexible workspace close to home. Unlike Philadelphia, fewer Pittsburgh residents opt to use public transportation with just 15% of the total population choosing to do so.

“It’s no surprise that Pittsburgh made this list. Administrations over the last 10+ years have been spending a lot of time, energy, resources and funds to make the city more walkable, pedestrian- and bike-friendly and optimal for public transit of all kinds,” said Dominic Janidas, president of the Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh. “Pittsburgh Regional Transit includes a fleet of 700 buses, our light rail system, Paratransit  and of course, our famous inclines, which aren’t just a tourist attraction.”

“It’s truly been amazing to see the city work to transform what parts of the city they can into sharable roads and passageways for both walkability and cyclists. Obviously, a lot of our infrastructure is dictated by our topography, and it’s wonderful to see how many of our neighborhoods have adopted efforts to focus on more than just cars. It’s one of the many reasons Pittsburgh continues to be the charming gem of a city that it is!” he added.

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