Minneapolis (and presumably St. Paul, too) is the eighth best place in the country for those who want to get around without owning a car. At least that is the conclusion of a recent study from two U.S. consumer rights groups.
The Innovative Transportation Index reviewed the availability of 11 technology-based transportation tools and services in 70 cities in the United States and found that Austin, Texas was the best place for those who live a "car-less" or "car-light" lifestyle. It was the only city where all 11 tools and services are available.
The services include online ride sourcing, car sharing, ride sharing, taxi hailing, static and real-time transit information, multi-modal apps, and virtual transit ticketing.
"These services make it easier to conveniently get around without owning a car," the study conducted by the Frontier Group and the U.S.. PIRG Education Fund. "That is increasingly what city dwellers - and Millennials especially - say they want
Minneapolis, with nine of the 11 services available, ranked behind San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, New York City and Portland, Oregon. It tied with Denver, San Diego and Seattle for No. 8, but came in ahead of other major cities such as Dallas, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and Detroit.
The cities with the fewest services available were Fargo, N.D., Cheyenne, Wyo., Billings, Mont., and Charleston, West Virginia.
The report looked only at the services that are available, but not how they performed.
Two services not offered locally. One is virtual transit ticketing, which allows riders to buy tickets through and Internet-connected device. The other is ride sharing, which connects riders with drivers who are going in their direction and are willing to give them a lift.
Ride sharing is different from ride sourcing service like Uber and Lyft. The latter enable those needing a ride to solicit a ride from willing drivers by using their smartphones.
The study found that residents in 19 cities had "abundant" choices, meaning residents had access to eight or more of the services. It also found that other cities are rapidly catching up.
"None of these options even existed a few year ago, and this trend is just beginning," said Phineas Baxandall, the transportation program director at U.S. PIRG Education Fund. "Technology has given people new convenient ways to get around more freely without having to own a car."