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May 3, 2023

New report reveals the best cities for green commuters

Given that commuting is an unavoidable aspect of many people's daily routines, it's crucial to evaluate which metro areas are excelling in terms of minimising time spent on the road, reducing CO2 emissions, and decreasing maintenance and fuel expenses.

By Alex Summers

As concerns about climate change and sustainability continue to grow, more and more people are seeking green commuting options, typically over driving. So, one way to reduce the carbon footprint is by using public transportation. However, not all cities have efficient and sustainable systems in place.

green commute
Which city really has the best systems in place for green commuters? (Photo by Denis Mamin/Shutterstock)

A new report by Yardi Kube has explored some of the top cities with systems that prioritise sustainability, efficiency and convenience for commuters, by examining data from the US Census Bureau 2021 ACS 1-Year Estimate. Since longer commutes, particularly by car, mean greater expense and more emissions, the report focused on the total population, total number of commuters, and the number of commuters who travel for 60 minutes or more (by car, truck, or van) for the top 50 largest US metropolitan areas by population.

Which cities are best for green commuters?

According to the report, Buffalo is the best metro area for green commuters in the US, with a mean travel time of 20.3 minutes, one way. While 40% of the total population in the area are commuters, only 2.3% of them spend more than 60 minutes driving to or from work. In addition, the shorter commute times lead to lower commuting costs, which are only 1.8% of the average $56,670 income in Buffalo.

Hartford is the only other metro area from the north-east that made the top ten, coming in sixth with an average travel time of 23.4 minutes. However, 4.2% of commuters spend more than 60 minutes travelling to work there, resulting in higher commuting costs of 1.5% or $1,083 of the average $71,201 income.

Four metro areas from the Midwest are also on the list of the best metros for commuters, including Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis. Milwaukee ranks second with an average travel time of 21.6 minutes, and only 3% of commuters spend more than 60 minutes on a one-way commute. Commuting costs in Milwaukee amount to 1.6% or $1,068 of the average $66,742 annual income.

San Jose and Salt Lake City take third and fourth places in the top ten, respectively, with Las Vegas rounding out the only three metros from the west. In San Jose, 5.2% of commuters spend more than 60 minutes on the road, and they spend $1,490 on commuting costs, which is 1.6% of the average $94,102 income.

Commuting in Salt Lake City takes an average of 21.7 minutes one-way, and only 3.2% of commuters spend more than an hour on the road. The cost of maintaining and fueling a vehicle for commuting purposes amounts to 1.9% of the average annual income of $60,726, which comes to about $1,140.

[Read more: New US rental report sees Atlanta take top spot]

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