5. San Francisco, Calif.
> Pct. walking to work: 9.9%
> Walk Score: 83.9 (3rd highest)
> Pct. households with no car: 31.4% (7th highest)
> Population density (of metro area): 12,144.9 (2nd highest)
San Francisco received excellent walk, transit, and bike ratings from Walk Score’s most recent review. The city scored better than all but one or two cities in every category. Nearly a third of households did not own a car in 2012, more than all but a handful of other cities. Because city residents are relatively wealthy, not owning a car may be a matter of choice due to the city’s relatively high population density. While personal income in San Francisco exceeded $66,591 per capita in 2012 — third highest nationwide — only the New York City metro area was more dense than the San Francisco region. In 2010, there were 12,144 people per square mile on average.
4. New York City, N.Y.
> Pct. walking to work: 10.3%
> Walk Score: 87.6 (the highest)
> Pct. households with no car: 56.5% (the highest)
> Population density (of metro area): 31,251.4 (the highest)
New York City received the highest public transit and walk ratings from Walk Score’s most recent rankings. The New York metro area had the highest population density in the U.S. in 2010, with 31,251 people per square mile. New York also had the fifth largest subway system in the world with roughly 229 miles of routes. New Yorkers often walk because they generally do not have to walk far to go to work, shop or run errands The high population density and availability of services could explain why a whopping 56.5% of New York households did not own a car — by far the highest out of any American city.
3. Pittsburgh, Pa.
> Pct. walking to work: 11.3%
> Walk Score: 59.8 (21st highest)
> Pct. households with no car: 23.9% (13th highest)
> Population: 2,990.8 (79th highest)
Unlike many other cities that had a relatively high proportion of commuters walking to work, Pittsburg wasn’t particularly dense, with less than 3,000 people per square mile on average in 2010. And compared to 2000, the region has become even less dense. The city has shown interest in improving its walkability. Last year, the three Southwestern Pennsylvania transportation management associations formed a partnership to produce WalkPittsburgh.org, an initiative dedicated to improve Pittsburgh’s walkability.
2. Washington, D.C.
> Pct. walking to work: 12.1%
> Walk Score: 74.1 (9th highest)
> Pct. households with no car: 37.9% (4th highest)
> Population density (of metro area): 6,388.1 (13th highest)
The nation’s capital ranked high in in walkability, biking friendliness, and the quality of its transit systems. The D.C. metro area had one of the highest population densities in the country with more than 6,388 people per square mile. While the city’s subway system, typically referred to as the Metro, is ranked highly by Walk Score, attractions such as the White House, the city’s 18 national monuments and the city’s annual Cherry Blossom festival could make walking to work a more pleasant experience.
1. Boston, Mass.
> Pct. walking to work: 15.1%
> Walk Score: 79.5 (4th highest)
> Pct. households with no car: 36.9% (5th highest)
> Population density (of metro area): 7,980.1 (7th highest)
More than 15% of Boston area residents walked to work as of 2012, by far the highest percentage in America. This is not surprising considering Boston received the fourth highest Walk Score after only New York, Jersey City, and San Francisco. The city also received the third-best Public Transit Score and the seventh-best Bike Score of any large city. This partially explains why nearly 37% of all households in the city did not own a car, one of the highest percentages in the nation. Currently, however, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which operates public transit systems in and around Boston, is expected to increase prices for bus, subways, and commuter rail service.