Whether you don't own a car, are trying to save money or want to be more environmentally friendly, driving may not always be your best option as far as transportation is concerned. Fortunately for you, the consequences of congested freeways and air pollution are causing local governments to offer better options when it comes to public transportation. With subways, trains, and buses, those living in metropolitan areas usually don't need a car to get where they need to go. If you are a non-driver, you may want to check out these cities where alternative transportation is a way of life.
Given that they live in the most populated city in the United States, it's not surprising that New Yorkers often forgo driving for other means of transportation. New York City is home to the most comprehensive mass transit system, which includes two of the busiest rail stations and subway system in the country. According to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, four out of five New Yorkers who work in the central business district commute by transit service during rush hour. When they aren't traveling by rail, many New Yorkers result to a different set of wheels. The New York City Department of Transportation reported that since 2006 commuter cycling has doubled in NYC and in 2010 every avenue in Manhattan, except for 11th and 12th Aves, had more than 1,000 cyclists on a daily basis.
The first subway system in the United States was founded in Boston, Massachusetts. The capital city is the largest in the state and as of 2009 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated it had a population of 645,169. With so many people living within the metropolitan area, it's no wonder that this city is home to some of the busiest subway systems, commuter rails, and bus networks in the country. According to the Boston Transportation Department, 57 percent of the population and 79 percent of jobs are within a 10 minute walk to a rapid transit or commuter rail station. Given the proximity to public transportation, it is used for 47 percent of the 283,000 trips to the beginning outside Boston and Core Neighborhoods. But not all Bostonians use motorized forms of transportation and some pick more environmentally friendly options. BTD also reported that Boston residents make 38,000 trips a day on bikes, 20 percent which are to work.
Philadelphia is one of the few cities in the country which still utilizes trolleys for public transportation, in addition to other modes such as rapid transit, buses, and trains. This city's main railroad station, 30th Street Station, is one of the busiest in the country for intercity passengers with trains operated by Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The majority of Philly's public transit system is managed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which provided nearly 330 million trips in the 2009 Fiscal Year.
San Francisco has a vast transportation network that includes everything from bus routes to light rail and cable car lines. It is home to one of the oldest transit systems in the world, the San Francisco Municipal Railway, which is also the seventh largest transit system in the United States. The majority of public transportation is managed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency which serves over 200 million people a year. The City of San Francisco is also cyclist friendly providing 1,550 bike racks on city sidewalks and a bike network that covers 208 miles. With so many options, it's easy to see why many of these Californians decide to leave their cars at home when it comes to the morning commute. In 2009 SFMTA reported that 31.8 percent of residents used public transportation to get to work while 10.3 percent walked and 3 percent traveled by bike.
Not just the nation's capital, Washington D.C. is also home to the second busiest rapid transit system and train station in the country. Of those working in Washington and other areas of Arlington County, 42 percent use mass transit to get to their place of employment reported the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which provides transportation to over a third of federal government employees. With 86 Metrorail stations, 1,500 Metrobuses, and a paratransit service that provides about 1.5 million trips a year, you don't need a car to get around Washington D.C. The District Department of Transportation also promotes bicycle use and provides over 48 miles of bike lanes and 1,000 bike racks. Thanks to its Capital Bikeshare program, D.C. was also the first city to have a public bike sharing system, which consists of 1,100 bikes that can be picked up and returned at more than 110 stations across the city.