Where are the best places to live without a car in the DC region?

D.C., along with Alexandria and Arlington in Virginia, are parked near the top of a nationwide list of 331 U.S. cities deemed the best places to live without a car.

The District ranked No. 4, Alexandria ranked No. 14 and Arlington ranked No. 16 in CoworkingCafe’s Top 20 Best U.S. Cities to Live Without a Car study.

It analyzed how frequently people walked, used public transportation, drove an automobile and rode a bike, along with the costs tied to public transit and the volume of congestion observed at public transit stations and bike lanes.

It found frustrating commutes, fuel costs, traffic delays and the level of air pollution as just some of the reasons why biking, public transportation and walking can be positive alternatives to driving a car.

While the study found that traffic congestion is lower than pre-pandemic levels, the typical U.S. driver still lost over 50 hours to congestion last year.

While relying on an automobile is a necessity in some “more sprawling areas, many cities across the U.S. typically boast great infrastructure that supports public transportation and hassle-free commutes,” according to the report.

CoworkingCafe’s “Top 20 Best U.S. Cities to Live Without a Car” rankings

The CoworkingCafe study attributed D.C.’s high marks to the 27% of residents who use public transportation — the fifth-highest share across the nation. The city also “ranked among the top 10 cities where a large share of the population chooses to walk or bike around the city.”

Across the Potomac River, in Alexandria, 16% of residents used public transportation; in neighboring Arlington it was nearly 22%, according to the data.

The study also found No. 1 Boston and No. 2 Newark, New Jersey, as the best places to live “without a car due to their excellent public transportation infrastructure and high number of stations.”

New York came in third, as “almost half of New Yorkers use some sort of means of public transportation to commute within and around the city — the highest share among 331 U.S. cities.”

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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