BOSTON – Going car-less is probably a great idea in modern American cities. You don't have to pay for gas, upkeep, you don't have to find parking, and you help the environment.
Somehow, Boston has been ranked #2 in a list of best cities to live without a car. Let's take a look at the study, who the top five are, and how we managed to get second!
Firstly, the all important variables. This is the data the website used to help them determine these rankings. The variables are: "...the share of households that don’t have access to their own vehicle, the share of commuters who take transit to work, the share of commuters who bike to work, and the share of commuters who walk to work."
That first variable is very interesting. Just because you don't have access to your own vehicle doesn't necessarily mean that it's easy to live without one in your city. It could mean that you simply can't afford to own a car, and thus have to wait hours to take public transport.
Other than that, the rest of the variables seem to make sense. How many people take public transit, how many people bike, and how many people walk (to work).
Thus, in first place is San Francisco. Second place is Boston. Third was New York City, followed by Seattle and then Portland. I found it fascinating that Boston ranked above NYC, but they explained why:
"It (NYC) has far and away the largest share of households who report no access to a vehicle, 22 percent. (That’s more than three times the share in both San Francisco and Boston.) New York is also the clear leader in the share of commuters who use transit to get to work, with more than 30 percent, almost double San Francisco’s share...But New York has a far smaller share of commuters who bike to work. It even fails to crack the top 10 on this metric, coming 101st out of 382 metros, or 22nd out of 53 large metros."
That's a pretty staggering statistic, as I would say I see way more people biking to work in New York than I do in Boston.
If you own a car in Boston, it might be a good idea to try and go car-less for a week and see what happens!