Study ranks US cities with the best and worst public transportation

Seattle, you're on top.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Bus in Yosemite Valley, California

In most places in the US, it sucks grabbing the bus.

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For as much fun driving can be, it's often a real chore to drive in large cities and metropolitan areas in general. That's where public transportation can really make life far easier.

A new study from Wallethub published Tuesday looked at 100 US cities to determine the country's best and worst public transportation systems based on a few measures. The website looked at accessibility and convenience, safety and reliability and public transit resources. The former two measures were given a weight of 40 points max each, while the final measure carried a weight of 20 points max.

Based on the standard grade scale, no city earned better than a C+. The top-performing system per the study is in Seattle, which got a score of 77.97. Each city also received a ranking based on the submeasures, and in this case, Seattle was only seventh for accessibility and convenience, sixth for safety and reliability and third for public transit resources.

The other four top cities were Boston, San Francisco, Washington and Madison, Wisconsin. Each scored at least 71 points in the rankings. Outside of the top five, cities fell under 70 points with the worst of the 100 cities scoring a mere 24.69 points or fewer. The bottom three cities (Tampa, Florida; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Indianapolis) scored 24.69, 24.03 and 21.13, respectively. That's not a great look for a big city like Indianapolis, especially considering a single category alone was worth a max of 20 points.

The study also found a few other interesting takeaways. For example, Lincoln, Nebraska, residents have the shortest public transit times, while Riverside, California, residents will wait the longest on average. Additionally, those living in Chandler, Arizona, will pay the least amount to ride public transit, and residents of Buffalo, New York, pay the most, based on median household income.

As a whole, the US has hardly ever emphasized public transportation outside of the largest cities in the country. With automakers and companies pursuing automation and other associated technologies, that could change in the distant future.

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