The hotshot team over at Walk Score is at it again. This time, they’ve ranked 25 major US cities based on transit.
No surprise, New York City takes the cake, pulling off an impressive 81. San Francisco, Boston, DC, and Philadelphia round out the top 5. The Northwest fares decently with Seattle coming in a #7 and Portland landing at #10.
The scores are calculated looking at frequency, types of routes, and stop locations on a block-by-block basis throughout the city, and then weighted by population density. (More methodology here.)
What struck me the most about these rankings is the discrepancy between walkable neighborhoods and bus-able neighborhoods. My house in Ballard boasts an impressive walk score of 95 (21 points higher than the Seattle average), but a measly transit score of 51 (8 points below Seattle’s average). This isn’t a total shock—Ballard has everything I could need close by, but transit can only really get me downtown efficiently.
Generally, cities with higher walk scores had higher transit scores, indicating that dense, walkable neighborhoods might go hand-in-hand with better transit (you usually walk to a bus stop, after all), but every city had a lower transit score than walk score, suggesting there’s still work to be done.
Very strange that LA is barely behind Portland. I never would have guessed they were so close… LA has a terrible reputation for mass transit, and Portland’s is pristine.
Matt the Engineer
But they have a subway! And even a funicular. Ok, and massive freeways and a whole lot of environment that’s terrible for pedestrians. Though I have no idea how good/terrible their bus system is.
LA always gets a horrible rap for its sprawl and auto-centric-ness. And it doesn’t deserve it.
It’s actually pretty densely developed. The density allows passable transit service.
The problem is partly visual. LA, like all dry cities, appears super-sprawling. You can see the whole thing from the air. Wetter cities tend to have more tree cover, which conceals just how sprawling and auto-oriented they are.
and many neighborhoods in LA are quite walkable. coupled with good weather and a relatively flat terrain, a longer walk there beats a shorter walk here many months of the year.
the bad rap i think comes from folks who only get a freeway view of LA.
The outlying ex-urbs are a very different story.