The Best Cities to Live in Without a Car in 2022

By MK Mackin

Gas prices are at an all time high and drivers are feeling it in their bank accounts. As prices continue to soar in the US, many may be considering alternatives to traditional commuting and car use. Whether you are looking to decrease your carbon footprint or your overall gasoline costs, House Method conducted a study to find the best (and worst) cities in America to live in without a car. 

We analyzed data on the 99 largest cities and ranked them according to seven factors, such as accessibility to transit and safety. Read on for the complete rankings and explanation of the methodology behind this study.

Main Findings

These are the best cities to live in and navigate without a car. The table below shows the overall rank, total score, and specific factor-category rank. It’s searchable and sortable so take a look as see how your city stacked up!

Rank

City, State

Total Score

Accessibility

Safety

1

New York City, NY

70.25

1

48

2

San Francisco, CA

51.96

5

44

3

Arlington, VA

51.54

8

9

4

Chicago, IL

48.04

3

78

5

Boston, MA

47.96

9

50

6

Newark, NJ

47.04

10

41

7

Fremont, CA

45.83

12

7

8

Jersey City, NJ

45.69

14

31

9

Washington, DC

45.18

7

76

10

Pittsburgh, PA

44.55

23

34

11

Philadelphia, PA

44.26

11

77

12

Oakland, CA

43.98

6

89

13

Irvine, CA

43.71

21

2

14

Miami, FL

43.57

4

45

15

Seattle, WA

43.12

13

51

16

Los Angeles, CA

41.44

2

60

17

Long Beach, CA

41.36

24

36

18

Madison, WI

40.52

26

16

19

Honolulu, HI

39.82

28

12

20

Portland, OR

39.16

22

39

21

Atlanta, GA

38.48

38

13

22

St. Paul, MN

38.46

19

63

23

Austin, TX

37.57

56

35

24

Baltimore, MD

37.47

17

92

25

Lexington, KY

37.44

68

16

26

Anaheim, CA

37.39

47

22

27

Plano, TX

37.12

45

6

28

Denver, CO

37.09

16

67

29

San Jose, CA

36.78

42

29

30

Buffalo, NY

36.77

34

80

31

Frisco, TX

36.71

53

3

32

San Diego, CA

36.5

31

23

33

Glendale, AZ

35.82

61

1

34

Minneapolis, MN

35.73

18

83

35

Lincoln, NE

35.65

36

32

36

Aurora, CO

35.44

29

72

37

Mesa, AZ

35.4

65

24

38

Richmond, VA

35.19

48

21

39

Corpus Christi, TX

35.06

49

65

40

Las Vegas, NV

35.05

15

40

41

Henderson, NV

34.74

58

11

42

St. Louis, MO

34.45

20

97

43

Cincinnati, OH

34.42

35

71

44

Sacramento, CA

34.2

39

57

45

New Orleans, LA

34.15

43

90

46

Toledo, OH

34.08

51

79

47

Reno, NV

33.99

55

47

48

Chula Vista, CA

33.94

57

20

49

St. Petersburg, FL

33.14

50

55

50

Virginia Beach, VA

32.88

66

4

51

Omaha, NE

32.8

46

52

52

Cleveland, OH

32.77

40

96

53

Durham, NC

32.69

83

68

54

Norfolk, VA

32.37

54

53

55

Santa Ana, CA

32.37

52

30

56

Garland, TX

32.21

69

14

57

Columbus, OH

31.99

60

45

58

Milwaukee, WI

31.91

25

94

59

Tampa, FL

31.79

41

38

60

Dallas, TX

31.74

33

66

61

Albuquerque, NM

31.58

27

91

62

Orlando, FL

31.42

62

69

63

Chandler, AZ

31.06

84

10

64

Paradise, NV

31.01

73

28

65

Colorado Springs, CO

30.6

59

49

66

Fort Worth, TX

30.51

64

43

67

Tucson, AZ

30.49

67

58

68

Stockton, CA

30.44

44

88

69

Chesapeake, VA

30.18

93

26

70

Irving, TX

29.34

80

18

71

Riverside, CA

29.18

77

33

72

Laredo, TX

29.01

87

19

73

Lubbock, TX

28.83

89

81

74

Gilbert, AZ

28.57

94

5

75

Fresno, CA

28.28

70

56

76

Scottsdale, AZ

27.95

95

8

77

Phoenix, AZ

27.94

32

64

78

Houston, TX

27.34

30

87

79

San Antonio, TX

27.25

85

62

80

Arlington, TX

27.18

79

42

81

Tulsa, OK

27.13

78

82

82

El Paso, TX

26.58

92

15

83

Detroit, MI

26.57

37

98

84

Fort Wayne, IN

26.19

99

26

85

Greensboro, NC

25.92

74

73

86

Kansas City, MO

25.76

71

93

87

Louisville, KY

25.53

90

54

88

Raleigh, NC

24.56

75

25

89

Nashville, TN

24.51

81

84

90

Indianapolis, IN

24.03

88

70

91

Jacksonville, FL

24.01

82

58

92

Anchorage, AK

23.87

63

85

93

Bakersfield, CA

23.44

96

37

94

Oklahoma City, OK

23.11

97

61

95

Wichita, KS

22.97

91

75

96

North Las Vegas, NV

22.64

76

95

97

Charlotte, NC

21.37

86

74

98

Winston-Salem, NC

20.21

98

86

99

Memphis, TN

15.89

72

99

Summary

Our analysis found that New York City is the best city to live in and navigate without a car or vehicle. It received the highest composite score in the accessibility category – meaning it provides the best access to parks, public transportation, education and healthcare while factoring in commute times. San Francisco, Arlington, Chicago and Boston rounded out the rest of the top five spots.

Wichita, North Las Vegas, Charlotte, Winston Salem and Memphis received the lowest rankings for best carless cities. The bottom five cities all ranked poorly for accessibility and had higher-than-average crime rates, ultimately making them less ideal for those looking to reduce car use through public transit and walking. 

Methodology

To find the most practical cities to live in without a car, we looked at data for the 99 largest cities in the United States. We ranked the cities using two major categories:

  • Accessibility 
  • Safety

Each city was graded on an 85 – point scale, with a score of 85 representing the ideal city for carless residents or those who wish to drive less.

Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all categories to calculate the best cities to navigate without a car and used the results to rank-order our sample.

Accessibility—65 points

  • Average commute time (number of minutes commuting 1 way to work each day)—Full Weight
  • Access to education (number of schools per city)—Full Weight
  • Access to healthcare (number of hospital beds per 1000 residents)—Full Weight
  • Access to public transit (average public transit trips per resident per year)—1.5 Weight
  • Distance to parks (percentage of people within 10 minute walk to a park) —Double Weight

Safety—20 points

  • Safety (crime rate per 100,000 people)—Double Weight

Sources

  • US Census Bureau
  • Fivethiryeight.com
  • Moneygeek.com
  • Tpl.org
  • Healthcaredive.com
  • National Association of Realtors
  • Titlemax.com

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