When you are looking for somewhere to live, you often start with a job, a house and access to coffee shops and museums. If you have a car, transportation can be low on your list. When you plan a vacation, you think about how you are going to get there and what you are going to do when you get there. You might think about transportation once you arrive, but in many cases, you will end up renting a car.
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However, green transportation is how we ought to start planning our vacations and choosing the place we live. Passenger vehicles, which include buses, produce about 45.1% of all carbon emissions associated with transportation. By reducing the number of cars being driven by carpooling or driving less by using public transport, we can make a significant reduction in the production of carbon emissions whether we are getting to work or on vacation. That said, some cities make green transportation easier than others.
Top five international cities with the most eco-friendly transit in 2023
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is well known for its cycling, but did you know that they have car-free streets as well? These streets cater to both bikers and walkers and are separate from car streets, meaning they are safer for cyclists and pedestrians. In Amsterdam, cars only account for 15% of all transportation.
2. Rotterdam, Netherlands
Unsurprisingly, a second Dutch city ends up on this list. The Dutch concept of autoluw means “nearly car-free” and has spread to several cities around the world. Rotterdam matches Amsterdam in the number of railways, but more cars are used to get around.
3. Graz, Austria
In this Austrian city, bikes account for 29% of all transit while cars account for 33%. However, it is cheaper to rent an electric or hybrid vehicle in Graz than it is to rent a gas-engine car.
4. Helsinki, Finland
In the capital of Finland, cars account for 18% and bikes for 21% of all transportation with more than 4000 bikes available to rent.
5. Stockholm, Sweden
Cars account for 17% of transportation in the largest city in Sweden, but bikes only account for 14%. Instead, Swedes and tourists use public railways and pedestrian roads to get around.
Top five U.S. cities with the most eco-friendly transit in 2023
1. New York, NY
If you do not have a car and do not want a car, move to New York. Ranking number one in car-free lifestyle friendliness, New York has 230 route miles of subway track across the boroughs while supporting renewable energy policies as well.
2. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is on a whole different level than most cities when it comes to sustainable transportation. With roughly 11 alternative fuel stations per square mile, it is one of the most bike-friendly and easiest cities to get around without a car in the U.S.
3. Boston, MA
Across the board, Boston ranks third in most forms of transportation, including public transit and access to alternative fuel stations. With more than 1500 bikes for rent across the city, Boston is both easy to bike and walk.
4. Jersey City, NJ
With access to public transportation and some alternative fuel stations, Jersey City ties with several other cities for the overall lowest greenhouse gas emissions, proving fewer cars can make a difference.
5. Washington D.C.
Between the Metrorail, the Metrobus and the Capital Bikeshare program, D.C. has you covered in public transportation. These modes of transit cover all of Washington D.C. and even allow you to visit nearby cities without ever getting in a car.
Whether you are looking to move or visit, there are cities around the world that are doing their best to make transportation easier for people and the planet. While ranking cities by sustainability can be complicated because of all the moving factors from policy and architecture to food production and pollution, transportation should play a big role in how we all make our decisions. Next time you visit a new place, look into their public transportation or see if you can rent a few bikes. You never know what you might discover outside of a car.
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