Special Report

Small Cities With the Best Public Transportation


To determine the small cities with the best public transportation systems, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on ridership and performance for all U.S. transit systems from the Federal Transit Administration’s National Transit Database and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. 

We constructed an index of 10 measures: the number of transit modes available; the number of passengers using the transit system per hour; the annual number of passenger trips per resident; the number of mechanical failures per 100,000 revenue miles; the average age of passenger fleet vehicles; the miles of roadway dedicated to Bus Rapid Transit; bus vehicle miles powered by electric battery as a percentage of all bus vehicle miles; the percentage of workers 16 years and over who commute using public transit; the percentage of workers 16 years and over with a vehicle at home who take public transit; and the Transit Connectivity Index. 

Data on commuting characteristics for workers 16 years and over came from the ACS and are five-year estimates for 2020. The Transit Connectivity Index, a custom measure from transportation data provider AllTransit, measures the concentration of buses and trains within a municipality. All other data is from the FTA NTD and is for 2020. 

Data was aggregated across all transportation systems within a municipality, and was weighted equally in the index. Only places with fewer than 250,000 residents where at least 5% of workers 16 years and over commute using public transportation were considered.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.