So you want to live in the next Silicon Valley car-free…

If you want to live in the next Silicon Valley auto-free and safe, these two city rankings are for you. Cities that appear in both lists are in red.

The first is Beyond Silicon Valley: 10 Blooming U.S. Cities for Tech from tech news portal, eWeek, followed by the companies that are based there:

0. Silicon Valley – HP, Intel, Apple, Sun, Oracle, Cisco, Google, eBay, Yahoo!
1. Seattle – Microsoft, Amazon, RealNetworks, AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile
2. Atlanta – Cingular, EarthLink, Internet Security Systems
3. Boston – Akamai Technologies, EMC Corp., CMGI venture capital
4. Washington D.C. – Sprint Nextel, America Online, Computer Sciences Corp., XM Radio
5. Dallas – Aspen Communications, CompUSA, Electronic Data Systems, Kinkos
6. Philadelphia – Unisys, SAP America, Verizon
7. Chicago – Accenture, US Robotics, Telephone and Data Systems, Click Commerce, Motorola
8. Orlando – Lockheed Martin, Symantec, Electronic Arts
9. Los Angeles – DirecTV, Belkin, Univision, Memorex
10. Charlotte – SPX Corporation, Time Warner Cable, Bank of America

Next, professor Michael Lewyn assembled existing statistics in public safety and transportation to answer the question, ‘where can I function without a car and still feel relatively safe?’ With grades in the following order, murder/robbery/burglary/transit poverty ratio/transit use/walking to work, here’s the top of his list with smaller cities in bold since they’re rarely even included in such studies:

1. New York City: B/B-/A//A-/A/A- 90.2
2. Boston: B-/C+/B+/B/B+/A 86
3. San Francisco: B-/C+/B/A/B+/B 85.5
4. Ann Arbor, MI: A/A-/B+/C-/D/A 84.5
5. Seattle: B+/B/B-/B-/C+/B- 82.8
6. Madison, WI: A-/B+/B+/C-/D+/B+ 82.7
7. Washington DC: D/C-/B+/B/B+/A- 81.7
8. Pittsburgh: C+/C/B/B-/B-/B 81.2
9. Providence, RI B-/B/B/D+/D+/A 80.0
9. Portland, OR: B+/B/B-/C+/C-/C 80.0
9. Philadelphia: C-/D+/B+/B-/B/B 80.0
9. Chicago: C+/C/B/B-/B/C 80.0

Check out an intrepid family doing just this in the Speak Your mind! section below.

Image: Top – Sony Metreon, San Francisco/Silicon Valley; Bottom – Downtown Madison

  • Lucinda

    I am very interested in today’s item, as I want nothing more than to live in a great city/town carfree. But how easy is it to truly live without a car in the places on this list (not including NYC) with a family? I have lived in many places carfree, including New York (too expensive for us now) and Seattle, but did not have 3 small children to transport. Can anyone who lives in any of these towns weigh in on the practicality of depending solely on public transit/walking to transport a family?

  • Not always easy, but definitely rewarding, this family with three kids, featured in this CNN video a few days ago, is doing it. The most compelling thing was that the the kids, especially the teenage daughter, more than preferred getting cellphones over a family car – ‘awesome’ she says. A Flexcar helps. They even collectively lost weight. Coincidentally, they live in Seattle, on the list. Read up more about their experience here.

    Personally, the neighborhood doesn’t seem as walkable as say a Georgetown in Washington DC, assuming a family can afford to live there.

    Anyone know of any stories?

  • Sambo

    I personally have a friend who is living without a car in Portland, Oregon. He has a wife and a 13 yr. old daughter who is in junior high. The MAX train takes them to and from work and his daughter walks home which is a quarter mile away. He saves over $500 a month by riding the MAX and because he got rid of his car he spends more time with his wife and kid. If he needs a ride his neighbors are usually generous about giving him one.