Cleaner Commuting

Today is Car-Free Day, and how easy it is for us to get along without a personal vehicle depends largely on where we live. Using Census Bureau data, Forbes has created a ranking of the cleanest-commuting metro areas. Areas earn points for having large percentages of workers who use public transit and carpool to their jobs, and lose points for having large percentages of workers driving alone.

There are a few surprises. I expected to see New York at the top of the list rather than at #5, given how massive and heavily used its transit system is, but perhaps the decision to separate the New York and Trenton metro areas is responsible. And Honolulu, which doesn't come to mind when I think of cities with great transit systems, comes in at #2 due to an impressive rate of carpooling. DC earns the #3 spot - and as a daily DC bus rider, I particularly applaud our Metro system for having made several improvements to bus service over the past few years. Here's the full list of the ten metro areas with the cleanest commutes:

1. San Francisco
2. Honolulu
3. Washington, DC
4. Seattle
5. New York
6. Trenton
7. Portland, OR (tie)
7. Boston (tie)
9. Chicago
10. Los Angeles

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If Seattle is fourth best, this country is in bigger trouble than I thought.

By Steve Hecker (not verified) on 25 Sep 2009 #permalink