Is the future carless?
- Abandoning your car can easily save thousands of people in gas, maintenance and insurance costs each year.
- The most walkable cities are those with extensive public transportation systems that often help you eliminate the need for a car.
- The widespread use of bike lanes also helps add to a car-free life in many of these cities.
Cars are a pain. You have to wash them, feed them, fix them, store them, insure them – and it all costs money. Tons of money. And this after that you spend a small fortune to get one in the first place.
What if you could live a life without a car? For many of us, this is impractical. Many modern towns and suburbs are literally designed around cars. However, there are still a few places where being car-free is not only possible, but actually preferable.
Living without a car means one of two things: a really small town or a really big town. To get an idea of which cities make car-free living the most practical, we searched for places with the best public transport systems. Here’s what we found:
New: Huge $300 bonus card released
More: This 0% listing tops our list of APR credit cards
The best cities for carless travel in the USA
The best public transportation in the US is found in its major cities, especially those that come before the car. They tend to rely on a mix of metro and buses, with some having less common means of transport such as trams and ferries.
- New York, NY: NYC’s notorious subway system is the most extensive in the United States, with more than 470 stations. With the city bus system (and extensive taxi services), you can go almost anywhere, so more than half of the homes in the city are carless.
- Boston, MA: Known locally as the T, Boston’s MBTA is one of the simpler but still effective systems that uses four color-coded rail lines as well as a number of buses and streetcars. Boston is also fairly safe for pedestrians, with less than a dozen pedestrian deaths each year.
- San Francisco, California: While we’ve probably all seen the city’s famous cable cars depicted in movies and television, San Francisco’s massive public transit system also includes a subway, bus, and streetcar. This system is a big part of San Francisco’s ranking as the most walkable city in the country, despite its numerous hills.
- Portland, OR: Portland has a wide variety of public transportation options, including an extensive bus network, light rail, commuter train, and Portland Trolley system. It’s also extremely bikeable; The city has more than 385 miles of bike paths and the highest rate of bike passengers in the country.
- Philadelphia, PA: Getting around Philly without a car is not difficult, thanks to its trains, subways, buses, and streetcars that largely cover 52 square miles. When you hop off public transport, you’re also one of the top five most walkable cities in the US.
- Washington DC: The nation’s capital is also one of the most walkable cities, thanks in large part to its busy public transport system. The subway offers 25 routes that draw countless tourists around the city each year, bringing thousands of commuters each day from nearby Virginia and Maryland.
- Seattle, WA: Despite being surrounded by multiple waterways, it’s easy to be car-free in Seattle. Not only do you have 22 transit routes, including buses, streetcars, and light rail, but you also have the iconic Seattle ferries for coast-to-coast travel.
- Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis has all the public transportation options you could want, with 56 square miles of light rail streetcars, buses, and commuter trains. In addition, Minneapolis is considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in the USA, with over 200 bike paths and paths.
- City of Jersey, NJ: More than half of Jersey City residents use public transportation, especially those commuting to nearby New York City. They can take advantage of an extensive rail and bus lines and manage most of their daily activities entirely on foot.
- Chicago, IL: The extensive Chicago public transit system covers an enormous area, serving 35 commuters by train and bus. It also has more than 200 miles of bike lanes and 13,000 bike racks around the city.
How much can you save without a car?
You can question the cost of living without a car by looking at the cities on this list. After all, these are some of the most expensive places to live in the country. But if you subtract the cost of owning a car, how much can you earn? save by living in one of these cities?
According to AAA, that number is over $10,000. Its data shows that the average cost of owning and operating a new car is $10,728 per year. And that’s just average; many people pay much, much more.
Even if you exclude car payments—which is no small amount, the typical new car runs you $30,000 or more—just insuring your car can cost thousands. In fact, drivers pay an average of $2,875 a year for car insurance, and that cost goes up if you really need to file a claim.
Then there’s gas and the inevitable expensive repairs. As a result, moving to a more expensive city where you don’t need a car can result in a washout when it comes to your finances.