A new study by WalletHub, a financial advice and information website, ranked the hundred biggest cities in the United States according to 31 metrics of “driver-friendliness.” The study identified the best and worst cities to drive in according to “key indicators” like gas prices, hours of traffic congestion per auto commuter, number of auto repair shops, number of car washes, car theft rates, and days with precipitation. What the study ultimately found is that New York City is one of the worst cities to drive in a nation where “87 percent of daily trips take place in personal vehicles,” and during a pandemic in which people are increasingly wary of public transportation.
New York City came in 96th place in the study. The four cities worse for drivers were, in descending order: Detroit, Michigan; San Francisco, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Oakland, California. The top five cities identified by the study were, in descending order: Lincoln, Nebraska; Raleigh, North Carolina; Corpus Christi, Texas; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Boise, Idaho.
The study found that New York City is home to some of the highest annual hours spent in congestion per auto commuter, at 65 hours per commuter. It also has some of the fewest auto repair shops per capita, some of the highest auto maintenance costs, and some of the highest parking rates.
In order to arrive at its ranking, WalletHub compared the cities across the following “key dimensions: 1) Cost of Ownership & Maintenance, 2) Traffic & Infrastructure, 3) Safety and 4) Access to Vehicles & Maintenance.” It emphasizes that its sample does not include cities’ metropolitan areas. With respect to those key dimensions, which were evaluated by 31 weighted metrics, New York City had the following weighted averages: 90 in Cost of Ownership and Maintenance; 100 in Traffic & Infrastructure; 14 in Safety; and 51 in Access to Vehicles and Maintenance. As you can see, New York came in last in the Traffic & Infrastructure dimension, which assessed hours spent in traffic, average length of commute, road quality, bridge quality, and roadway miles per thousand people. It similarly did not fare well in Cost of Ownership & Maintenance, which assessed such metrics as Cost of New Car, Average Gas Prices, Average Monthly Car Premium, Auto Maintenance Costs, Total Extra Vehicle Operating Costs per Driver, and Average Parking Rate.