The 10 best places to live in the U.S. for public transportation in 2019

Where can you live without a car?

For many people looking to relocate to a new part of the country, the options for getting to work, home and anywhere else can often be a deal-breaker.

For the sake of avoiding white-knuckle traffic, public transportation may be your preferred means of travel, not to mention the fact that it can help offset a high cost of living. But if you’re planning to count on a bus or train to get you from point A to point B, you may find your choice of metro areas is limited.

Of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. that make up the Best Places to Live list, only 10 have public transportation used by more than 5% of local residents for daily commuting, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Read on for the 10 Best Places to Live for Public Transportation.

Row houses sit behind a man waiting at a bus stop, Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Baltimore. Gov. Larry Hogan has called for a statewide "Day Of Prayer And Peace" on Sunday after civil unrest rocked Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
9. Baltimore (tie) Best Places 2019 Rank: 100
Metro Population: 2,792,050
Median Home Price: $248,833
Median Annual Salary: $56,400
Public Transit Use: 6% Public transportation is used by 6% of the Baltimore metro area. Commonly utilized transit around Baltimore includes buses and the local subway that runs from the center of the city out to the suburb Owings Mills. Additionally, Baltimore’s location on the Eastern Seaboard makes it easy to take advantage of Amtrak and MARC train systems that can take you north to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, or south to Washington, D.C. Learn more about Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (AP/David Goldman)
In this Nov. 14, 2017 photo Amtrak's Empire Builder approaches a bend in the Columbia River Gorge. The Empire Builder's section serving Portland, Oregon, travels approximately 55 miles of the gorge, which separates Oregon and Washington. Further east, the train crosses the northern Rockies and the northern Great Plains on its route between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. (AP Photo/Paul Davenport)
9. Portland, Oregon (tie) Best Places 2019 Rank: 8
Metro Population: 2,382,037
Median Home Price: $375,425
Median Annual Salary: $55,330
Public Transit Use: 6% Also home to a public transportation system used by 6% of the population, Portland is similar in population size to Baltimore and offers residents a mix of train and bus options. The Portland Streetcar also has routes for commuters on both sides of the Willamette River. Learn more about Portland. (AP Photo/Paul Davenport) (AP/Paul Davenport)
Ward Kea, of Honolulu, jumps over a puddle as he prepares to board a bus in Honolulu Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hurricane Ana brought a steady rain to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu as it passed about 180 miles west. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
8. Honolulu Best Places 2019 Rank: 60
Metro Population: 990,060
Median Home Price: $581,658
Median Annual Salary: $54,030
Public Transit Use: 9% The smallest metro area on the list, Honolulu offers transit options that 9% of the population takes advantage of. The two branches of public transportation in Honolulu include TheBus, which is a fixed-route bus system throughout most major parts of Oahu, and TheHandi-Van, which provides transportation for low-income households, senior citizens and residents with disabilities. Learn more about Honolulu. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda) (AP/P. Solomon Banda)
A Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority bus (SEPTA) turns onto Market Street in Philadelphia, Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Lawyers for an investigative reporting organization are suing Philadelphia's main transit agency after it refused to run ads about the group's stories on racial disparities in mortgage lending. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
6. Philadelphia (tie) Best Places 2019 Rank: 102
Metro Population: 6,065,644
Median Home Price: $200,142
Median Annual Salary: $54,940
Public Transit Use: 10% Philadelphia’s public transit is primarily made up of the systems run by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which includes buses, trolleys and local and regional trains. Because of Philadelphia’s proximity to parts of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and New York, many commuters use the train systems for regular daytrips in and outside of the metro area. Learn more about Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (AP/Matt Rourke)
A King County Metro bus displays a snow route sign, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools were closed across Washington state as winter snowstorms continued pummeling the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
6. Seattle (tie) Best Places 2019 Rank: 9
Metro Population: 3,735,216
Median Home Price: $442,333
Median Annual Salary: $63,120
Public Transit Use: 10% Tied with Philadelphia, Seattle also has a public transportation system used by about 10% of the population. Monorails, light rails, circulator and regional bus options and even ferries and water taxis help residents and tourists get around the Seattle area. Learn more about Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) (AP/Ted S. Warren)
A Red Line train moves through Wrigleyville neighborhood, seen from the stands of Wrigley Field, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Chicago. Living near the workplace is one of the unique attractions of playing in a vibrant residential neighborhood like Wrigleyville. For the players and staff who take advantage, it means almost nonexistent commutes, more time with family and a chance to mingle with the surroundings in a way that might not be possible in other cities. For residents, well, you might have a Cub living next door. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
5. Chicago Best Places 2019 Rank: 104
Metro Population: 9,549,229
Median Home Price: $221,983
Median Annual Salary: $54,160
Public Transit Use: 12% With a population of nearly 10 million people, 12% of the Chicago metro area depends on the public transportation system. Included in the Chicago Transit Authority’s system are CTA buses and the L Train system, which goes in, out and around the city. Learn more about Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) (AP/Kiichiro Sato)
In this Wednesday, June 17, 2015 photo, commuters disembark from a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train in Brookline, Mass. The subway system in the Boston metro area is the nation's oldest, launched in 1897. Public transportation has long been hailed as a certain remedy for traffic congestion, but many of the nation's largest mass transit systems are struggling to keep up with maintenance and expansion. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
4. Boston Best Places 2019 Rank: 27
Metro Population: 4,771,936
Median Home Price: $423,450
Median Annual Salary: $65,420
Public Transit Use: 13% With 13% of its metro area population using the subway, bus and trolley systems, Boston has the fourth-highest public transit use out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. Boston’s dense metro area makes public transportation both a viable and necessary option to help cut down on traffic, avoid the need to find parking and cut the expense of owning a car in a major city. Learn more about Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (AP/Steven Senne)
A subway train departs the L'Enfant Metro Station in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, part of the public mass transit network for Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
3. Washington, D.C. Best Places 2019 Rank: 19
Metro Population: 6,090,196
Median Home Price: $376,767
Median Annual Salary: $69,210
Public Transit Use: 14% Located in the mid-Atlantic, the nation’s capital requires public transportation to help keep people off its notoriously traffic-filled streets. The average morning commute for a District of Columbia metro area resident is 34.6 minutes, the second-longest commute time out of the 125 spots on the Best Places to Live list. Only New York City has a longer average commute. Learn more about Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2013, file photo, passengers board a Bay Area Rapid Transit train in Oakland, Calif. The agency that runs San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system says the rate of aggravated assaults on trains and platforms has increased, while overall violent crimes went down this year. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes BART Police Chief Carlos Roja citing a slight but encouraging downward trend in crime as the agency released statistics from the first third of 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
2. San Francisco Best Places 2019 Rank: 7
Metro Population: 4,641,820
Median Home Price: $768,517
Median Annual Salary: $69,700
Public Transit Use: 17% When you think of public transit in San Francisco, you may immediately picture the streetcars or trolleys that are prevalent in old TV shows set in the City by the Bay. While streetcars and cable cars are a part of the Muni — the San Francisco transit system — you’re also likely to see locals catching buses and light rail trains to get around town. Learn more about San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File) (AP/Ben Margot)
Commuters ride the L train, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, in New York. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday, he's calling off a planned 15-month shutdown of the L train, a critical subway link between Manhattan and Brooklyn, saying a team of experts had come up with a way to overhaul a flood-damaged tunnel beneath the East River without closing it or even significantly curtailing service. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
1. New York City Best Places 2019 Rank: 90
Metro Population: 21,139,370
Median Home Price: $386,862
Median Annual Salary: $63,079
Public Transit Use: 30% As the largest metro area in the U.S. both by population and size, New York City shouldn’t surprise anyone as the place with the most heavily used public transportation. With more than 21 million metro residents, the Big Apple offers its subway system, railroad that takes people in and out of the city center, ferries to Long Island, Staten Island and other locales and buses that travel everywhere in between. This all adds up to 30% of the local population taking advantage of the extensive transit options. Learn more about New York City. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (AP/Mary Altaffer)
(1/10)
Row houses sit behind a man waiting at a bus stop, Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Baltimore. Gov. Larry Hogan has called for a statewide "Day Of Prayer And Peace" on Sunday after civil unrest rocked Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
In this Nov. 14, 2017 photo Amtrak's Empire Builder approaches a bend in the Columbia River Gorge. The Empire Builder's section serving Portland, Oregon, travels approximately 55 miles of the gorge, which separates Oregon and Washington. Further east, the train crosses the northern Rockies and the northern Great Plains on its route between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. (AP Photo/Paul Davenport)
Ward Kea, of Honolulu, jumps over a puddle as he prepares to board a bus in Honolulu Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hurricane Ana brought a steady rain to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu as it passed about 180 miles west. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
A Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority bus (SEPTA) turns onto Market Street in Philadelphia, Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Lawyers for an investigative reporting organization are suing Philadelphia's main transit agency after it refused to run ads about the group's stories on racial disparities in mortgage lending. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A King County Metro bus displays a snow route sign, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Seattle. Schools were closed across Washington state as winter snowstorms continued pummeling the Northwest. Seattle's metro area has already been hit by three snowstorms in February, making it the snowiest month in Seattle in more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A Red Line train moves through Wrigleyville neighborhood, seen from the stands of Wrigley Field, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Chicago. Living near the workplace is one of the unique attractions of playing in a vibrant residential neighborhood like Wrigleyville. For the players and staff who take advantage, it means almost nonexistent commutes, more time with family and a chance to mingle with the surroundings in a way that might not be possible in other cities. For residents, well, you might have a Cub living next door. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
In this Wednesday, June 17, 2015 photo, commuters disembark from a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train in Brookline, Mass. The subway system in the Boston metro area is the nation's oldest, launched in 1897. Public transportation has long been hailed as a certain remedy for traffic congestion, but many of the nation's largest mass transit systems are struggling to keep up with maintenance and expansion. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A subway train departs the L'Enfant Metro Station in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, part of the public mass transit network for Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2013, file photo, passengers board a Bay Area Rapid Transit train in Oakland, Calif. The agency that runs San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system says the rate of aggravated assaults on trains and platforms has increased, while overall violent crimes went down this year. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes BART Police Chief Carlos Roja citing a slight but encouraging downward trend in crime as the agency released statistics from the first third of 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
Commuters ride the L train, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, in New York. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday, he's calling off a planned 15-month shutdown of the L train, a critical subway link between Manhattan and Brooklyn, saying a team of experts had come up with a way to overhaul a flood-damaged tunnel beneath the East River without closing it or even significantly curtailing service. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The top places for public transportation in the U.S. include:

— New York City

— San Francisco

— Washington, D.C.

— Boston

— Chicago

— Seattle

— Philadelphia

— Honolulu

— Portland

— Baltimore

More from U.S. News

The 25 Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2019

The 20 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather in 2019

The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Quality of Life in 2019

The 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Public Transportation in 2019 originally appeared on usnews.com

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up