Southern California environment news and trends

California cities rank on new U.S. public transportation list

Expo Line Test Run

Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

The Exposition Line train at the La Cienega/Jefferson station after finishing a test run.

According to a new report, five California locales placed among the top 25 American cities for public transportation.

The rankings were determined by exceedingly useful website Walk Score through a series of calculations resulting in a “Transit Score” which “measures how well a location is served by public transportation, and is based on data released in a standard open format by public transit agencies.”

In California, San Francisco rated the highest, coming in second overall with a transit score of 80, just one point behind the top-rated city of New York. Los Angeles just missed the top ten, scoring the 11th spot just behind Portland, OR and ahead of Milwaukee, WI. Walks Score considers L.A. the 13th most “walkable” city in America, citing downtown L.A., Koreatown and Mid-City as the best neighborhoods for getting around on foot. Los Angeles is sure to rank even higher on the site’s next survey, given the completion of the new L.A. Metro Expo Line that recently opened for service.


Younger Americans are driving less

Chris Yarzab/Flickr/Creative Commons

According to a new study, teens and young adults across the country are choosing alternative means of transportation over hopping behind the wheel of an automobile.

The report, “Transportation and the New Generation,” found that younger Americans are driving “substantially fewer” miles than previous generations, often not even bothering with acquiring a driver’s license, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Released by the CalPIRG Education Fund, the study says that mass transit, biking and walking are the preferred methods of getting around.

In hard numbers, the report details how from the year 2001 through 2009, the average number of miles driven by people aged 16 to 34 fell by 23 percent. Also during that time, the same demographic of people increased their public transit mileage by an impressive 40 percent.


Walking in LA: It happens, we can prove it

Walkin’ in LA, nobody walks in LA. Or so say the lyrics from Missing Persons. But guess what? People do walk in the City of Angels, and it happens more than the public thinks. Several recent reports are highlighting this lesser-known truth about our fair city.

First, the Sherman Oaks Patch brought us the good news that it was ranked 42nd in almost 100 neighborhoods around Los Angeles for their walkability score. Walkability score, you say? 

As the Sherman Oak Patch writes, “, which provided the rankings on their website, determined the scores by measuring the walkability of individual addresses based on proximity to nearby amenities.” 

Why is this relevant? The Patch points out that a high walkability score means several positive things for your neighborhood. For one, your health is improved by the 6 to 10 pounds you weigh less than a person in a sprawling neighborhood. What’s more, one point of Walk Score means $3,000 more for your property value.