Forbes came out with a list of the top ten cities for the most cost incurred in getting back and forth. Texas, Florida, and Ohio had 2 cities each.

The list:

1. Houston Texas
2. Cleveland Ohio
3. Detroit Michigan
4. Tampa Florida
5. Kansas City Missouri
6. Cincinnati Ohio
7. Dallas Texas
8. Phoenix Arizona
9. Miami Florida
10. Denver Colorado

I was surprised to learn that in Houston, the average commuter spends 20.9% of their household costs on commuting! Doing the math with my costs, I would be spent.
But that’s in part because Houstonians spend a lower than
average proportion of their take-home pay on housing. And that’s the
Transit costs are high because Houston has few policies
hindering sprawl, which in turn allows for cheaper housing. In San Francisco,
which is much denser and has more prohibitive zoning laws than Houston,
residents rank 22nd in commute costs but fifth in the combination of housing and

The article points out that some of the best cities such as New York City and San Fransisco have expensive housing, but cheaper transit costs. I think the main key is that sprawl is going to be costly not just in gas, vehicle wear and tear, and roads. It will place more carbon dioxide in the air which as we know leads to the smog that cities like Los Angeles experience everyday. So there is your trade off, enjoy the cheap housing with views of sprawl, because in a few years, it won’t matter you won’t be able to see 200 yards in front of you. Our very own Seattle didn’t make the list and I wasn’t able to find out where it did land on the list, however, I think there is work to be done here. Seattle labels itself as a forward city in dealing with reducing gases and being stewards to our environment and the Puget Sound. I think that ST2 is going to be extremely important in helping Seattle stay off the these type lists. This will also help reduce the cost of our commute, I imagine we aren’t as good as NYC or SF, but we are working towards getting there or better even. Perhaps we’ll be able to see the Cascades and Mount Rainier for years to come, provided it isn’t rainy and cloudy. As for the cost of living, well that’s another blog, but I only see it going up everyday, at least we’ll have good transit. What do you think the City of Seattle could do? What could a city like Houston could do who is already in the hot seat for costly commutes?

One Reply to “Costly Cities for Commuting”

  1. I think you are right, a big step forward is getting ST2 voted in with approval. Seattle can also do things like improving bike lanes, sidewalks, and the “little things” that help people get mobile. Encouraging downtown growth to curb sprawl is important. Did you see in the newspaper that Federal way is building up not out! That is the way to start caring for environment. Of course doing things like carbon analysis and reducing as much as possible helps too!

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