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How to Get Around Los Angeles

Los Angeles is well-known for its sunny weather, amazing beaches, and car culture. Cars are practically a requirement to live or visit the LA area, but many other transportation options are available. In fact, Los Angeles public transportation was ranked number six for the best public transportation in the U.S. Read on to learn about how to get around Los Angeles and all of your options.

Your Guide to Getting Around in Los Angeles | Metromile

The Metro bus 

Metro is the transportation agency in Los Angeles, and according to their site, “​​We serve as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder, and operator for the country’s largest, most populous county.”

As part of their service, you can take one of the many bus lines in and around Los Angeles. There are over 165 bus routes within the city with several different types of bus lines including:

  • The Metro Local (orange buses), which make regular stops throughout the city
  • The Metro Rapid (red buses), which has rapid service in busy areas, making fewer stops along the way
  • The Metro Express (blue buses) which is used by commuters and goes along city freeways 
  • The Metro Silver Line, which serves downtown LA and the South Bay as well as the San Gabriel Valley
  • The Metro Orange Line, which connects to the Valley and serves North Hollywood to Woodland Hills 

You can access the bus with a TAP card or using cash, with one-way fares costing $1.75. The fare is good for transfers for up to 2 hours. 

The Metro Rail 

The closest thing to a subway system LA has is The Metro Rail. The Metro Rail options used to be categorized by color but recently have shifted to letters. They include:

Los Angeles Metro Rail

Source/credit: Metro 

You can take the B line, formerly the Red line, to downtown’s Union Station, which is an architectural beauty. Then, go across the street to Olvera Street, LA’s first historic pueblo. Other lines take you to Pasadena, Santa Monica, Long Beach, and more. 

Ticket fares are the same as the bus and cost $1.75 with transfers for up to 2 hours. 

DASH buses 

DASH buses in LA connect local neighborhoods to bigger transit hubs and serve over 30 million passengers a year. The DASH buses are affordable and cost only 50 cents or 25 cents if you’re a senior and are available in 27 different neighborhoods within the city. You can use their Trip Planner to see which route is available in your area. 

To make boarding easier, you can use your stored value on your TAP card or buy a 31-day DASH pass for $18. 

Via car 

When it comes to getting around Los Angeles, going by car is the most popular option. LA is a car city through and through, especially as it’s so spread out and vast. Going anywhere, even if it’s “close”, can take at least half an hour. 

Traffic can be rough at practically all hours, but especially so at peak rush hours. It’s no surprise that LA was ranked number four when it comes to the top cities with the worst traffic. If driving, put on some good tunes (suggestion: “I Love LA” by Randy Newman, full blast)  and bring some water and your sunglasses to make the most of it. 

Biking 

When figuring out how to get around Los Angeles, you may wonder if it’s bike-friendly. A car-centric culture like LA isn’t as compatible with biking. LA was named the worst city for bicycling in 2018. Though biking isn’t an ideal option, it’s possible in certain areas. You can check out LA Bike Paths and Bike Routes and Maps. 

Walking 

There’s a famous Missing Persons song with the refrain “nobody walks in LA!”. Walking isn’t as convenient in LA with the sprawling nature of the city, but there are certain neighborhoods where walking is possible. 

For example, Hollywood, Koreatown, Downtown, and Santa Monica are very walkable. If you live in these areas, you can walk to the gym, to get coffee, or run your errands. Other neighborhoods may be more suburban and require a car and a freeway trip. 

Emerging mobility transportation options 

Aside from the more traditional transportation options listed above, getting around Los Angeles now includes emerging mobility transportation options as alternatives. 

Ride-share apps 

As noted above, if you want to figure out how to get around Los Angeles, a car is your best bet. But if you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive, you can still get a ride using the power of ride-share apps. Uber and Lyft are popular in the city and you can get a ride wherever you need to, using your mobile phone. 

Metro Bike Share 

Though LA isn’t very bike-friendly, the city is working toward making it more accessible for bicyclists in certain neighborhoods that are already walkable and bikeable. 

For example, there is the Metro Bike Share program, which just expanded to Hollywood and added 11 new stations. You can book a bike, unlock it, ride, and return and lock it at a designated station. It costs $1.75 for 30 minutes of riding. You can download the app to see where bike shares are accessible. 

E-scooters 

E-scooters are also available in certain parts of the city and are ideal for short trips. You can use Bird or Lime, two popular e-scooter choices, to get where you need to go within the city. Though e-scooter ridership has dropped during COVID, it’s gaining momentum again. You can download the apps for these e-scooters and see what’s in your area. 

The bottom line 

Whether you live in Los Angeles or want to visit, there are numerous Los Angeles public transportation options to choose from aside from using a car. Getting around Los Angeles may be time-consuming, but you have choices. If you live in a neighborhood that is more walkable and public transportation friendly, you might be a low-mileage driver and benefit from pay-per-mile insurance. If you’re paying for miles you aren’t driving, it’s time to re-think your auto insurance coverage. Get a free quote with Metromile to see how much you could save. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Get Around Portland

Portland, Oregon is a haven for lush greenery, strong coffee, and is a biker’s paradise. Whether you already live there, are considering a move, or want to visit for a short trip, you want to get acquainted with Portland transportation options. There are many Portland public transportation options, with the city ranked number 9 for best public transportation in the U.S. To understand all the ways to explore the city, here’s your guide on how to get around Portland.

Your Guide to Getting Around In Portland | Metromile

TriMet bus 

The transportation authority in Portland is TriMet which runs the city’s bus services, light rail, and commuter rail. There are over 84 bus lines in the Portland metro area, with many connections to get you where you need to go. One-way tickets cost $2.50 for up to 2 ½ hours and the day passes are $5. It’s important to note that as of 2019, TriMet stopped taking paper tickets, so you can pay using your phone or a Hop card. Use the TriMet Trip Planner to see which bus lines go to your desired destination.

The MAX Light Rail 

One of the best Portland public transportation options is the MAX light rail. “The MAX” as it’s commonly referred to is short for ​​Metropolitan Area Express and has various lines that connect downtown Portland to other nearby areas like Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Gresham.

Source/credit: TriMet.org 

You can easily take the MAX Red Line to and from the Portland International Airport (often voted one of the best airports in the U.S.). Since the MAX is also run by TriMet, the fares are the same as the bus at $2.50 for one-way for up to 2 ½ hours. There are five different MAX lines including:

  • The Blue Line
  • The Green Line
  • The Orange Line
  • The Red Line
  • The Yellow Line 

Figuring out how to get around Portland is easy with the MAX, given the diversity of lines and the fact that it runs about every 15 minutes or less.

The Portland Streetcar 

The Portland Streetcar originally began in 2001, serving the downtown area around Portland State University and up to NW 23rd Avenue, commonly referred to as The Pearl District. 

Streetcar service has expanded to offer riders service across Tilikum Crossing, the newest bridge connecting the East and West sides of Portland (Side note: Portland is divided into quadrants, with East and West divided by the Willamette River and North and South divided by Burnside Street). 

The streetcar is in service Monday through Friday starting at 5:30am to 11:30pm, on Saturdays from 7:30am to 11:30pm, and Sundays from 7:30am to 10:30pm. During the week, it runs every 15 minutes, and during the weekends, every 20 minutes. 

Tickets are $2 for 2 ½ hours or $5 for the day and can be purchased on the streetcar or you can use your other TriMet tickets that cost $2.50 on the streetcar as well. 

Driving around Portland 

Another Portland transportation option, though seemingly less popular, is driving. Driving in the City of Roses is fairly intuitive given that the city is mostly on a grid and divided by quadrants. The main things to be aware of when driving in Portland are:

  1. Bridges! There are a lot of them. 
  2. Bicyclists, buses, and pedestrians. 

You can make a wrong turn and end up on a bridge going to the East side. Also, as noted above, Portland is very big on public transportation and biking, so be aware of bike lanes and bike boxes. Lastly, be mindful of one-way streets that can be dangerous if you’re not going with the flow of traffic. 

If you’re a low-mileage driver in Portland and rely mostly on biking and Portland public transportation, check out pay-per-mile car insurance to lower your costs. 

Biking 

The city of Portland is a bicyclist wonderland and comes in the second spot for best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. There are a whopping 385 miles of bikeways comprised of 162 bike lanes, 94 miles of Neighborhood Greenways, and 85 miles of bike paths, according to Portland Bureau of Transportation data. The city was also named the top biking city in the U.S. by Bicycling magazine for several years as well. 

Walking 

Portland is primarily on a grid and has numerous bridges with walkways connecting various parts of Portland, making it a pretty walkable city. The city has a Walk Score of 67, making it pretty walkable, though some areas like downtown and the Pearl district are better than others. 

Aside from using your own two feet for how to get around Portland, walking is a beloved activity recreationally as hikers take to the many trails and parks in the area. 

Alternative Portland transportation options  

There is no shortage of choices when figuring out how to get around Portland. But aside from the Portland transportation options listed above, there are newer, alternative options as well. 

Ride-sharing programs

If you don’t want to take Portland public transportation or don’t have access to a car or you simply don’t want to drive, you can use a ride-sharing program. Ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft are household names now and available in Portland. Though Uber is typically used more often, as of 2019, Portlanders used Lyft more often, according to Willamette Week. Simply download or use the apps on your phone to call a ride to get where you need to go. 

BIKETOWN bike-sharing program 

If you don’t have your own bike in Portland, don’t fret. You can still get around on two wheels, thanks to the city’s signature BIKETOWN program. There are 1500 bikes available at over 180 stations, according to the BIKETOWN website. It costs just $1 to unlock the bike and 20 cents per minute while riding, making it an attractive option for quick jaunts or errands. You can download an app, unlock a bike, and get riding. 

Electric scooter 

Another Portland transportation option to consider is going by electric scooter, more commonly referred to as an e-scooter. There are various e-scooter providers to choose from, including Lime, Spin, and more. You must wear a helmet and stay off the sidewalks. Portland launched e-scooters as part of a pilot program that is being reviewed. You can find more info with this 2019 E-Scooter Report and Next Steps.

The bottom line  

Getting around Portland comes with an abundance of choices. You can use Portland public transportation or more alternative transportation options as well. Regardless of what you choose, figuring out how to get around Portland is easy with so much available in the city. If you’re based in Portland and don’t drive that much, you may be overpaying for your car insurance coverage. Why pay more when you can pay for the miles you drive plus a low base rate, using pay-per-mile insurance? Check out a free quote with Metromile to see how much you could save. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Are Electric Cars Actually Better for The Environment?

There’s no doubt that climate change is one of the most pressing concerns of our time. As an individual, that means not just thinking about our carbon footprint but also our “climate shadow”. According to this Mic article, climate journalist Emma Pattee explains that your climate shadow refers to “how the sum of our life’s choices influence the climate emergency.” One action you may consider taking to reduce your environmental impact is to trade in your gas guzzler for an electric vehicle. But are electric cars better for the environment? The answer is generally “yes,” but it is more nuanced than that. Read on to learn more about what to consider.

Are Electric Cars Better for The Environment? | Metromile

Are electric cars more environmentally friendly than gas cars? 

If you’re considering switching to an electric vehicle and in the research phase, you want to know if electric cars are better for the environment. 

When it comes to emissions while driving, the answer is a definitive “yes”. Electric vehicles (EV) have zero tailpipe emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

On top of that, electric vehicles are more energy-efficient, with FuelEconomy.gov stating, “Electric vehicles (EVs) are more efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. An EV electric drive system is only responsible for a 15% to 20% energy loss compared to 64% to 75% for a gasoline engine.”

These two significant points make electric vehicles an attractive option. On the surface, it makes them more environmentally friendly as well, but there’s more to it. 

Though electric cars have no tailpipe emissions, they may add carbon pollution based on how the electricity is generated to charge the car. 

For example, if the electricity that charges the vehicle comes from sources like natural gas or coal, then there will be some carbon pollution. However, if the electricity comes from renewable sources such as solar power or wind, there won’t be added pollution. 

Unfortunately, if you’re in the U.S., fossil fuels are the main way electricity gets powered. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of 2020, roughly 61% of electricity was generated from fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, as well as petroleum. Approximately 20% of electricity was generated via renewable resources.

So while electric vehicles are beneficial due to the lack of emissions, it’s essential to look at the bigger picture. The energy source fueling the electricity can be somewhat problematic. But there’s some good news. 

The EPA combats the myth that electric vehicles are worse for the climate and unequivocally states, “Electric vehicles typically have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline cars, even when accounting for the electricity used for charging.”

How does the way electric cars are made affect the environment? 

Electric vehicles may have fewer emissions and be better for the environment, but what about the way they’re made? 

There are growing concerns about manufacturing electric vehicles, especially as it relates to the environmental impact of electric car batteries. The “Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave: How Electric Cars Beat Gasoline Cars on Lifetime Global Warming Emissions” report (pg 31) states:

“The largest manufacturing difference between gasoline and electric cars, of course, is the production of the lithium-ion battery. Emissions from producing the battery come from extracting raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, copper, and iron ores, processing these materials into finished metals, and then fabricating them into the parts of the battery. Finally, when the battery is assembled and installed in the car, there are global warming emissions from the assembly.”

Though the manufacturing of electric vehicles may contribute to global warming, the report also states, “On average, battery-electric vehicles have much lower global warming emissions than comparable gasoline vehicles, despite higher emissions from vehicle manufacturing.” (pg 31)

The EPA agrees, showing lower greenhouse gases (GHG) for the lifecycle of an electric vehicle compared to a gasoline vehicle. 

When considering emissions, you can look at direct emissions, which relate to tailpipe emissions, as well as do a lifecycle analysis to look at emissions throughout the manufacturing and production process.

As you can see in the image below, taking into account total greenhouse gases from manufacturing and end-of-life (which includes recycling and disposal) as well as operation, electric vehicles still have fewer overall emissions. 

Source/credit: EPA

So while electric cars aren’t entirely without a carbon footprint or emission-free, from a lifecycle perspective, it has fewer emissions and may be the lesser of two evils. 

Are electric car batteries recycled?

As noted above, there are concerns about the environmental impact of electric car batteries. Manufacturing them can lead to more emissions, but through the overall lifecycle, it still comes out as a win. 

But as electric vehicles grow in popularity, a new problem has come to the forefront — how to recycle all of the lithium batteries. An article on Science.org notes that many current electric vehicle batteries aren’t set up to be recycled, which only adds to the problem as more electric vehicles hit the market. 

Given this issue, the U.S. government is working to create solutions with the ReCell Center, an initiative by the Department of Energy (DOE) that helps recycle lithium-ion batteries

A CNBC article notes that car manufacturer Ford is working with a startup to reuse the materials from electric vehicle batteries. 

Currently, there isn’t a perfect solution to this issue but according to the EPA, it’s a work-in-progress. The EPA website notes, “Recycling EV batteries can reduce the emissions associated with making an EV by reducing the need for new materials. While some challenges exist today, research is ongoing to improve the process and rate of EV battery recycling.”

Are electric vehicles better for the environment if they’re not zero emissions?

If you’re thinking of buying an electric car, consider the pros and cons first. If your primary reason for going electric is the environment, you might wonder, “Are electric vehicles better for the environment if they’re not zero emissions?”

Based on the data above, it’s clear that in many cases, the answer is still “yes”. While EVs have no emissions while driving, they still create emissions in the manufacturing process.  

The Wall Street Journal worked with researchers at the University of Toronto to compile data about electric vehicle vs gas CO2 emissions and created an interactive illustration with their findings. For their example, they compared a Tesla Model 3 and Toyota Rav4. 

Based on The Wall Street Journal data, we’ve included the chart below. 


Distance Driven (miles)
CO2 emissions
Electric carTraditional car
0 (manufacturing plant) 12.2 tons7.4 tons
20,60014.7 tons14.7 tons
100,00024.1 tons42.7 tons 
200,00036.0 tons 78.0 tons 

As you can see, in the manufacturing plant, the electric car creates more emissions at first. What’s interesting is at the 20,600 mileage point, both cars are even. After that point, the electric car continues to have fewer emissions than its gas counterpart. 

So even if EVs aren’t zero-emission, the data shows that they can be a better alternative than traditional cars in the long run. 

The bottom line 

If you’re thinking of opting for an electric vehicle, it’s natural to wonder “Are electric cars better for the environment?”. While there are concerns about the environmental impact of electric car batteries, it’s an issue that is being addressed and in the long run, EVs have fewer emissions. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to drive less. If you’re a low-mileage driver, then it makes sense to switch to pay-per-mile car insurance. Why pay for miles you aren’t driving, when you can pay only for the miles you actually drive, plus an affordable base rate? Check out your potential savings with a quote from Metromile

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

The 10 Best Bike-Friendly Cities in The U.S.

Getting around by bike is a great way to limit your carbon footprint. It can also give you a sense of freedom, pedaling by the power of your own two feet and feeling the wind hit your face as you ride. The pandemic has created a biking boom, with more people getting into biking or rekindling their former hobby. In fact, as of April 2020, bike sales had increased a staggering 75%, amounting to 1 billion in sales, according to NPD, a market trends firm. Though biking has become popular again, that doesn’t mean that all cities are built for bicyclists. Some cities are lacking the infrastructure and safety, while others are on the frontier of creating some of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. Find out the top 10 best biking cities in the U.S.

The Top 10 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S. in 2021 | Metromile

Our methodology 

To determine the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S., we looked at two primary metrics. We looked at Bike Scores, a measure of bike-ability that shows access to bike lanes, connections within the city, and more. Next to bike-ability, we also looked at bicyclist safety as measured in fatalities, or the number of deaths, by looking at city and state data from the most recent Traffic Safety Facts Report (NHTSA). This report was issued in October 2021 and includes data for 2019. 

We looked at data from 25 bike-friendly cities in the U.S. by SmartAsset and evaluated bike scores and bike fatalities. We gave the bike score a weight of 85% and the NHTSA safety score a weight of 15%. To create the Metromile bike-ability score, we used the following equation:

Metromile bike-ability score = bike score (85%) – safety score (15%)

From there, we ranked the top 10 best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. 

10. New York, NY 

The Big Apple is well-known for its 24-hour subway system, coming in the top spot for public transportation in the U.S. Aside from that though, the city also makes it to the tenth spot for best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. The city has the Citi Bike bike-sharing program and is home to many bike paths and greenways. You can find a bike map of New York City here. 

Bike score: 70 

Cyclist fatalities: 24

Metromile bike-ability score: 55.9

9. Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA makes it in the number nine spot as part of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. The city is home to Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail (also referred to as the American River Bike Trail), which is 32 miles and was named as the number one bike path as of 2006 for Trails.com. The city boasts many other bike trails and paths with great views, making it a great spot for cyclists. 

Bike score: 68

Cyclist fatalities: 2

Metromile bike-ability score: 57.5 

8. Washington D.C. 

The nation’s capital isn’t just a popular place for politics but also for biking. Washington D.C. is home to 150 miles of bike lanes and trails and has 6,100 Capital Bikeshare bikes, according to goDCgo.com. The city also comes in the fourth spot for top walkable cities and top cities with best public transportation as well. 

Bike score: 69

Cyclist fatalities: 1

Metromile bike-ability score: 58.5

7. Seattle, WA

Seattle may have an abundance of rainy days, but that doesn’t stop the city from being a popular haven for cyclists. Though the number of cyclists goes down in the winter months, as you can see in the chart below. 

The Top 10 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S. in 2021 | Metromile

Source/credit: Seattle Department of Transportation 2020 Traffic Report 

The Emerald City offers various options for cyclists, including protected bike lanes and multi-use trails. On top of that, the city has a robust bike-sharing program making the city even more accessible by bike. 

Bike score: 70

Cyclist fatalities: 2

Metromile bike-ability score: 59.2

6. Boston, MA

Coming in the sixth spot of most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. is Boston. According to Boston.gov, “The Boston Transportation Department works to make bicycling fun, safe, and convenient.” The city has an aggressive goal to increase bicycling fourfold by 2030. The city of Boston takes pride in being one of the first cities to adopt a bike-share program (Bluebikes) in 2011. There are about 4,000 Bluebikes and 400 stations, so you can get around Boston by bike. 

Bike score: 70

Cyclist fatalities: 1

Metromile bike-ability score: 59.35

5. San Francisco, CA 

San Francisco is a walker’s paradise, coming in the top spot for best walkable cities in the U.S. But aside from walking, it’s also one of the best biking cities in the U.S. as well, coming in the fifth spot. As of 2019, the city by the bay counted over 10.8 million bikes and added 670 bike racks, according to SF MTA data. San Francisco also has a growing bike-share program for residents and tourists alike to take advantage of. 

Bike score: 72

Cyclist fatalities: 1

Metromile bike-ability score: 61.05

4. Chicago, IL

Chicago aka the Windy City makes it to the fourth spot for best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. The city has major perks for cyclists including more than 200 miles of bike lanes, 13,000 bike racks, and a beautiful 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail, according to Chicago.gov. On top of that, Chicago has the Divvy bike-share program making it easier than ever to get around by bike, even if you don’t own one. 

Bike score: 73

Cyclist fatalities: 5

Metromile bike-ability score: 61.3

3. Denver, CO

When it comes to most bike-friendly cities in the U.S., Denver takes the third spot. The Mile High City is working to build a safe, convenient, and reliable bike city that cyclists can take advantage of as an affordable, healthier alternative to driving. The city is building out protected bike lanes and neighborhood bikeways, putting safety as a top priority. 

Bike score: 73

Cyclist fatalities: 3

Metromile bike-ability score: 61.6

2. Portland, OR 

Portland is nearly a bike utopia, which makes it the second spot for best biking cities in the U.S. The Rose City had the highest number of bike commuters in 2017, coming in at 6.3%, according to Portland Bureau of Transportation data. The city boasts 385 miles of bikeways, with even more on the way.  

Additionally, the city has some unique things that make it bike-friendly, such as having bike-specific traffic signs at 31 different intersections as well as 42 bike boxes to help protect cyclists from drivers. Portland also has the Biketown bike-share program, sponsored by Nike, which is headquartered in the metro area. 

Bike score: 82

Cyclist fatalities: 2

Metromile bike-ability score: 69.4

1. Minneapolis, MN 

Coming in the top spot for most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. is Minneapolis. According to the city’s website, Minneapolis has 98 miles of bike lanes as well as 101 additional bike paths and trails and has 16 miles of protected bikeways. The city also ranks as one of the top cities for bike commuters. Minneapolis also has the Nice Ride Minnesota bike-share program that has over 3,000 bikes and 400 stations to make it easy to get around by bike. 

Bike score: 84

Cyclist fatalities: 11 (in the state of MN) 

Metromile bike-ability score: 69.75

The bottom line 

Exploring or commuting on two wheels instead of four can be good for your health and the environment. As a cyclist, obviously, you want to stay safe and bike in cities catered to your needs. Choosing to bike in one of these 10 best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. can help you get the most out of your ride and stay safe. 

If you prefer to ride on two wheels instead of four, but still have a car, it might be time to re-evaluate your car insurance. Using pay-per-mile insurance, you pay a low base rate and several cents for each mile you drive. That way if you don’t drive much, you actually benefit from it and never pay more than you need to. Consider a switch and get a free quote with Metromile today. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

It’s Not Your Imagination—Traffic is Different Now

By Jeff Rutledge, Metromile Senior Communications Manager and Data Geek

Metromile’s Data Drivers Report | October 2021 edition

Metromile’s Data Drivers Report: October 2021 edition

No one is quite sure how to refer to this moment in time. Are we at the end of a pandemic, somewhere in the middle, or just getting started? Will I get tired of working from home and staring at endless Zooms? Whatever the case, many of us are settling into some version of a new normal, with new routines — especially with our driving habits, which took a big detour in mid-2020 and still haven’t quite stabilized.

When you price insurance fairly using actual individual behaviors, you tend to collect a data point or two, and our drivers’ collective time behind the wheel has given us a unique view of how driving for work, pleasure, travel, and everything in between has changed—maybe for good.

So, what does driving look like toward the end of 2021? I teamed up with our Data Science team to look at how Metromile customers are driving and shed light on some emerging trends.

Rush Hoursss have replaced Rush Hour. Commuting has definitely changed: morning and evening commutes are still a bit less intense, with peak traffic down 10% to 20% from pre-COVID levels. But if you’re like me, you might feel like you’re always in traffic these days. 

Here’s why: our research shows that drivers are starting and ending their commutes and school drop-offs at more varied times than they used to, meaning rush hour lasts longer. Not surprising given all the news about flex schedules and school bus concerns, but not great news if you’re looking to get somewhere quickly.

Mid-day can be me-time. Mid-day driving, meanwhile, is up as much as 5% in some markets, suggesting more daytime errands and/or more flexible family arrangements.

We’re driving faster than we used to. The average trip speed is elevated by about 3 to 4% across all trips, suggesting drivers are prioritizing different kinds of trips, encountering emptier roads (personally, I’d like to know where!), just losing patience, or some combination of all three.

Suburbs are having a moment. Total miles driven on urban roads has dropped 7 to 9% from this time in 2019, while suburban—and even some rural—miles have risen by a similar amount. This jives with the number of drivers taking notice of cost-saving insurance options, too; we’ve seen an increase as high as 5% in the number of suburbanites shopping for and purchasing pay-per-mile insurance during the past several months.

Back to school is…back. In 2021 we saw a clear increase in cars on the road as schools resumed in-person learning, commensurate with bumps we’ve observed in previous years. This customary surge was—as you might guess—dramatically smaller than usual in 2020, shrinking by about 20%.

We’re split into the drives and the drive-nots. Total miles driven have been creeping back to their 2019 levels, but all together we’re still driving 5-6% fewer miles than we were before COVID hit. But that’s not the whole story—far fewer drivers than before are accounting for all those miles—between 10% and 40% fewer depending on location and time of day. More than ever, we’re divided into the road warriors and the sofa soldiers.

Location is revealing (and so is age). While the trends above hold true across the board, we do see noticeably different behaviors across different states and metro areas. For example:

  • Peak rush hour traffic is only down about 5% in Arizona, Virginia, and Illinois, but closer to 20% in California and our other states.
  • Drivers in Portland haven’t gotten back behind the wheel quite as much as their peers in Seattle, and San Francisco-area drivers drive significantly more than both on a per-person basis.
  • Age matters too; Gen Z has driven fewer miles than normal, but far more than Boomers and the Silent Generation, perhaps reflecting occupation or a lower perceived risk of illness, while Millennials have shown modestly safer braking habits, possibly due to being more likely to drive with small children.

We’ll be back with more driving trends soon. Stay tuned for the next edition of our Data Drivers report!

Your Guide to Chicago Transportation Options

If you live in Chicago or want to visit the Windy City, you have a number of Chicago transportation options to choose from. The city is well-known for its public transportation options and was ranked fifth when it comes to the top 10 cities with the best public transportation in the U.S. Here’s your guide on how to get around Chicago. 

how to get around Chicago

Common Chicago transportation options 

If you want to figure out how to get around Chicago, you can start by reviewing the most common Chicago transportation options. 

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) 

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) runs Chicago’s “L” trains which is a nickname that came from the word “elevated”, as many trains are on elevated railways (but not all of them). According to TransitChicago.com, the CTA executes about 1.6 million rides on a typical weekday, serving Chicago and 35 nearby areas. These cover 140 stations throughout the city and beyond. 

The “L” train lines include:

  • The Red Line
  • The Blue Line
  • The Brown Line
  • The Green Line
  • The Orange Line
  • The Purple Line
  • The Pink Line
  • The Yellow Line 

The Red Line runs 24 hours a day and goes between the North and South side and through downtown. The Blue Line also runs 24 hours a day and goes between Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Forest Park and goes through downtown. The other lines’ hours of operations vary, but many run between 4am to 1am during the week. 

You can use the CTA’s Trip Planner to help you figure out how to get around Chicago and get where you need to go. You can pay for your fare at the station or get a Ventra card or Ventra ticket. The base “L” train fare is $2.50 for one-way. 

The Metra Rail 

Another Chicago public transportation option is the commuter rail known as Metra rail. The Metra rail connects Chicago suburbs to downtown and has the following lines, according to the Metra rail website:

  • Milwaukee District North (MD-N)
  • North Central Service (NCS)
  • Union Pacific North (UP-N)
  • Union Pacific Northwest (UP-NW)
  • Heritage Corridor (HC)
  • Metra Electric District (ME)
  • Rock Island District (RI)
  • SouthWest Service (SWS)
  • BNSF Railway (BNSF)
  • Milwaukee District West (MD-W)
  • Union Pacific West (UP-W)

You can check out a Metra rail system map here. How much it will cost you to ride the Metra rail will be based on how far you travel on the rail and is based on distance. You may be able to get a $10 day pass as part of a promotion for COVID recovery or get a weekend pass for $7. You can use this tool to find your next Metra rail departure to help plan your trip. 

The Water Taxi

One of the unique Chicago transportation options includes taking a water taxi. Residents and tourists can enjoy floating down the Chicago River by water taxi. As of 2018, the Chicago water taxi had more than 400,000 passengers, an innovative solution to dealing with brutal traffic. 

You can score a $6 one-way pass or a $10 all-day pass to board a water taxi. It’s important to note that water taxis are only offered at specific times, and the season is currently over but is expected to resume in the spring of 2022. 

By car 

If you want to figure out how to get around Chicago and have the most control over your time and directions, driving is a good option. Just be aware that you might hit traffic, as Chicago was ranked seventh as part of the top 10 cities with worst traffic in the U.S. 

You can also use this Chicago parking map to see what your options are. Chicago is made up of 234 square miles and comes in the third spot in most populous cities in the U.S. For these reasons, driving by car in the city may be good. If you don’t end up driving that often, you could be a low-mileage driver and can benefit from a pay-per-mile car insurance option like Metromile. 

Bicycle 

Sometimes you just feel like the Queen lyric, “I want to ride my bicycle!” and explore the city on two wheels. The good news is that Chicago is a good place to get around by bike. According to Chicago.gov, the city has 200 miles of bike lanes, 13,000 bike racks, and an 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail. You can get a Chicago bike map here and get info on bike parking. 

Biking can give you a sense of freedom when traveling through Chicago, powered by your own two feet. Be sure to helmut up and bring your bike lock to stay safe and keep your bike intact. 

Walking

One Chicago transportation option to help get your daily steps in is walking. Chicago is a great place to walk, coming in at number 10 in terms of best U.S. cities for walking. By walking through Chicago, you can see the sights in a new way and avoid pesky traffic. Of course, this isn’t an option for all your trips, but if you’re in the downtown area walking can be a good option. Bonus: it’s good for the environment, it’s free, and you can get your steps in for the day. 

Alternative Chicago transportation options 

Aside from the more common Chicago public transportation options and driving, biking, and walking, there are other types of alternatives to use too. Here are some other Chicago transportation options. 

Uber/Lyft 

Ridesharing is here to stay and like many other cities, you can hail an Uber or Lyft as part of your travels in Chicago. Whether you’re a resident or tourist, if you’re traveling in Chicago, you can use your smartphone and use the Uber or Lyft app to get a rider to pick you and take you to your destination. 

The Divvy bike-sharing program 

The Chicago Department of Transportation has partnered with ridesharing giant Lyft to create a bike-sharing program called Divvy. The Divvy bike-sharing program has more than 600 stations and over 6,000 bikes across the Chicagoland area, according to the Divvy Bikes website. 

You can use the app or get an annual membership or pass to book a bike, ride on, and return the bike to a Divvy station. A single ride is $3.30, a day pass is $15, and an annual membership is $9 a month. 

The bottom line 

When figuring out how to get around Chicago, you have an abundance of options to choose from. From the robust Chicago public transportation options to other types of transportation, you can choose to use two wheels, four wheels, your own feet or take the city’s infamous “L” train. 

If you’re a resident of Chicago and don’t drive that often, consider the benefits of pay-per-mile car insurance with Metromile. You pay for gas by the gallon, why not pay for insurance by the miles you drive and an affordable low rate to make sure you’re getting a fair quote? See how much you could save by making the switch. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Get Around Seattle

Seattle is well-known for its stunning geography, lush greenery giving it the name of Emerald City, and its iconic Space Needle. Whether you live in Seattle or are considering a move or vacation there, the good news is there are so many Seattle transportation options. In fact, it was ranked eighth in the top 10 best public transportation options in the U.S. We’re breaking down your guide on how to get around Seattle. 

Your Guide to Getting Around Seattle | Metromile

Most common Seattle transportation options 

When it comes to how to get around Seattle, there is no shortage of options. These options include Seattle public transportation and other options as well. Let’s dive into some of the most common Seattle transportation options that can get you around the city. 

King County Metro Transit bus service

One of the most prominent Seattle public transportation options is the King County Metro Transit bus service which goes through downtown and surrounding areas. 

Bus fare costs between $2.75 to $3.25 for adults and you can download the mobile app to make transit even easier and more seamless. 

To get more information and plan your trip, you can use the King County Trip Planner. You can also get an ORCA Card, which costs $5 and can be used on multiple Seattle public transportation options like this bus service, light rail, and more. 

The Sound Transit Link Light Rail 

The Sound Transit Link Light Rail is another popular Seattle public transportation option, going through downtown for commuters, to the University of Washington for students and SEA-TAC airport for travelers. The light rail comes fairly frequently, about every six, 10, or 15 minutes based on the time of day, according to KingCounty.gov data. 

On top of that, most days you can use the Link Light Rail starting in the early morning, beginning at 5am up until 1am, to accommodate various schedules. However, on Sundays and holidays, you lose an hour on the front and back end, with light rail hours starting at 6am and going to midnight. 

Expect to pay between $2.25 to $3.50, which will vary depending on the distance you travel. You can pay using the Transit GO Ticket mobile app, your ORCA card, or a ticket from a light rail station. 

Streetcars

On top of the more traditional bus and light rail options, there are also Seattle streetcars that you can take when getting around Seattle. Fun fact, Seattle’s first electric streetcars hit the city stage in 1889. 

According to KingCounty.gov, there are two active  Seattle public transportation streetcar options:

The city was in the process of building the Center City Connector but has been on hold due to lack of ridership and funds, due to COVID. 

The First Hill Line connects bustling neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, the International District, and Pioneer Square, and more. You can take this line between 5am and 10:30pm during the week, 6am to 10:30pm on Saturday, as well as 10am to 8pm on Sundays and holidays. The First Line streetcar comes every 12 to 25 minutes, depending on the time of the day. 

The South Lake Union line offers another transportation option from the South Lake Union area to downtown. This line is available from 6am to 9pm during weekdays, 7am to 9pm on Saturday, as well as 10am to 7pm on Sundays and holidays. It costs $2.25 for a single-fare to ride the Seattle streetcar. 

The Seattle Center Monorail 

Seeing the Seattle Center Monorail cascade through the city center is a sight to behold and makes you want to take it whether for fun or to get where you need to go. According to the Seattle Monorail website, more than 2 million passengers per year take the monorail. 

The monorail comes about every 10 minutes and takes passengers between the Seattle Center station and the Westlake Center Mall station. 

To ride the Seattle Monorail, it’ll cost you $3 one-way and you must use an ORCA card or debit/credit for payment. 

Driving in Seattle

Since Seattle is such a public transportation-friendly city, you may not need to drive at all. But there might be some neighborhoods that are easier to access with a car or if you want to go hiking in the area, driving might be your best bet though you may have to deal with traffic. 

The good news is the city is relatively compact, so you may not need to drive that much. If you do drive a stick, beware of some of the hills, especially around Pike’s Place Market. If you’re a resident of Seattle and don’t drive that often, you might get substantial savings by switching to pay-per-mile insurance and pay a low base rate and for the miles you drive, and nothing more. That way you can get rewarded for driving less. 

By bike 

If you’re trying to figure out how to get around Seattle and looking for a flexible option to stop and go, you can explore the city on two wheels as well with a bike. It’s free and you get some built-in exercise, so it’s a win-win. 

You can check out this Seattle Department of Transportation guide to biking around Seattle as well as this bike map of the city. 

Walking 

Another underrated Seattle transportation option is walking! You can go at your own pace and explore the city and see things you can’t always see with a car or on public transportation. 

It’s also kind of like the choose-your-own-adventure option. You can go different routes, stop and see public art, street art, and other things that are unique to Seattle. Similar to biking, it’s also free and is basically getting a mini workout in. 

Alternative and up-and-coming Seattle transportation options

On top of the more common Seattle transportation options listed above, there are also more alternative and up-and-coming transportation options to consider as well. 

Uber and Lyft ride-share options

Using the power of your smartphone, you can quickly and easily secure a ride to get around Seattle using one of the ride-sharing programs. Uber and Lyft are ride-sharing options that you can easily use within the city all from the comfort of your phone. 

Rent a bike with bike-sharing options 

If you want to explore the city or get around by bike, but don’t have your own, don’t fret. The city of Seattle has a bike-sharing program that allows you to use a bike. Simply use your Uber app to reserve a JUMP bike and pay 15 cents per minute. You can also use Lime to get a bike for rent as well. For Lime, costs vary by the minute and it costs one dollar to access the bike and use it. 

Use a scooter to see Seattle 

If you’re curious about how to get around Seattle using more off-the-beaten-path options, consider renting a scooter. The city of Seattle has a scooter-share program so you can get around the city quickly. This can be a good option to go short distances or run a few errands or go down the street if you’re running late. 

You can use:

It’s important to note that costs can vary, helmets are required and you aren’t allowed to ride scooters on the sidewalk.

The bottom line 

As you can see, there are numerous Seattle transportation options to choose from. So depending on the day, your mood, energy, and the weather (hello, Seattle rain!) you can choose Seattle public transportation options or decide to drive yourself or get an Uber. 

If you live in Seattle and have a car but don’t drive that often, check out pay-per-mile car insurance with Metromile. Just like you pay for utilities based on how much you use, you can pay for car insurance based on the miles you drive along with a low base rate. Get your no-hassle quote to see how much you could save. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

What is a Mileage Tax and the Vehicle Mileage Tax Program, Explained

On June 24, 2021, President Biden announced a $1.2 trillion dollar “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework” as part of his “Build Back Better vision” notes a White House press release on the matter.  As of September 30, 2021, the vote on the Infrastructure Bill was delayed. Part of the package includes proposing a vehicle mileage tax pilot program. Read on to learn what you need to know about vehicle mileage tax.

Everything You Need to Know About Vehicle Mileage Tax | Metromile

What is a mileage tax?

Mileage tax is a type of tax that is paid by the driver based on miles driven. You can think of it as a pay-per-mile tax that subsidizes government programs and can be thought of as a “road user charge”. The vehicle mileage tax is typically based on how many miles you drive in a particular time frame, like a year or quarter. 

What is the vehicle mileage tax program? 

Currently, there is talk on social media about the vehicle mileage tax program. Users are expressing concerns about the cost of driving and incorrectly stating that it would cost drivers 8 cents a mile, per a USA Today story. 

In reality, the vehicle mileage tax program that is included in the infrastructure bill proposes a three-year pilot program to study the viability of a road user charge. The program would begin in 2022 and after the three-year period is up, it may be voted into law by Congress. 

How does the pay-per-mile vehicle mileage tax program work? 

According to the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” document:

“The Secretary shall establish a program to test the feasibility of a road usage fee and other user-based alternative revenue mechanisms (referred to in this section as “user-based 

alternative revenue mechanisms”) to help maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, through pilot projects at the State, local, and regional level.”

The program is designed to test out alternative revenue streams that are user-based, conduct outreach as well as education about these programs, assess their acceptance in the community as well as address privacy concerns about getting tracked by the mile, and more. 

There are national as well as state programs that will try out the per-mile user fees. Given that it’s a pilot program and not established into law, it requires passenger and commercial drivers’ participation. 

Volunteers from all 50 states will be solicited to participate in this program. Various telematics devices will be used such as on-board diagnostic devices, smartphone apps, and more. 

These devices will track the miles driven within a specific time period. Volunteers as part of the vehicle mileage tax pilot program will pay per-mile taxes based on the amount of miles driven, within a particular quarter of the calendar year. 

Is the per-mile mileage tax replacing the gas tax?

You might wonder if the per-mile vehicle mileage tax will replace the gas tax also known as the Motor Fuel Tax (MFT). Unfortunately, it’s not clear. 

For some background, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website notes that since the early 2000s many states have been trying to come up with solutions to replace MFT. 

Based on data from the National Association of State Budget Officers’ 2019 State Expenditure Report, motor fuel taxes are the largest transportation source of revenue coming in at 39.8%.

Seeing as many states are making moves to reduce emissions and make vehicles less reliant on fuel with the boom of electric cars, there are ideas floating around about how to navigate this going forward, which is one reason the per-mile tax or road user charge is coming into conversation. These can also be referred to as “Vehicle Miles Traveled” (VMT) or “Mileage-Based User Fees” (MBUF). 

There are already some states that are trying out regional pilot programs but the infrastructure bill is bringing it to a national and statewide level. 

Which states are included in the vehicle mileage tax pilot program? 

The National Motor Vehicle Per-Mile User Fee Pilot Program is not in effect as of yet, but if it moves forward it intends to attract volunteers from all 50 states. It will include passenger and commercial vehicle drivers as well. 

Although the program intends to attract drivers from various geographic locations and all 50 states, it is a pilot program where you must volunteer and opt into. 

According to a Washington Post article on vehicle mileage tax, Oregon and Utah are already launching per-mile programs. A more recent posting on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website notes that there are 14 state and regional pilots that have received federal grants to implement these programs.

Expect more states to get on board with road user charges (RUC). An earlier blog from NCSL stated:

“State legislatures continue to debate RUC legislation. In 2019 and 2020, at least 19 states—Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington—considered 34 pieces of legislation addressing RUC. Of those, at least seven states—Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington—have enacted eight pieces of legislation. Five states—Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Vermont—currently have seven pending pieces of legislation, including carryover bills from 2019.”

The bottom line 

The new vehicle mileage tax pilot program is in the infrastructure bill and could be in place in 2022 as part of the pilot program lasting three years. It won’t necessarily affect you until then unless you opt into the pilot program. However, it’s something to monitor and be aware of as many states are looking for alternatives to Motor Fuel Tax. 

If you want to save money based on how much (or how little) you drive, consider pay-per-mile auto insurance that offers you a car insurance premium based on an affordable base rate plus the miles you actually drive. Get a free quote today. 



Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to get around in San Francisco?

Whether you currently live in San Francisco, want to live in San Francisco, or plan on traveling to the city by the bay, there are so many ways to get around the city. In fact, the city was named the second-best city for public transportation based on Metromile data, only behind the Big Apple. From the city’s iconic cable cars to the recent bike share trends, there are more options than ever when it comes to getting around in San Francisco. Read on to learn more about San Francisco’s transportation options.

Your Guide to Getting Around San Francisco | Metromile

Common forms of San Francisco public transportation 

If you need help getting around in San Francisco, you have numerous modes of transport to choose from that fit your budget and lifestyle. Let’s go over the main San Francisco transport options. 

1. Muni 

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is the entity that manages the Muni transportation system, which is short for Municipal Railway. 

Muni operates several different public transportation options in San Francisco including:

  • Light rail Metro trains
  • Muni buses (bonus: they’re fuel-efficient)

The entity also manages historic cable cars (more on that later). Through Muni, more than a million people use the public transportation service as part of getting around San Francisco, according to the SFMTA website. 

Muni also connects with other regional forms of transportation including:

  • AC Transit 
  • BART
  • Caltrain
  • Golden Gate Transit
  • SamTrans
  • The San Francisco Bay ferry 

A single Muni ride costs $2.50 per ride and you can see your route options here. 

2. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) 

One of the top San Francisco public transportation options is the Bay Area Rapid Transit, more commonly referred to by its acronym, BART. 

The underground (and sometimes underwater!) rail is an engineering marvel, connecting San Francisco with both the East Bay and South Bay. 

BART has been around for over 45 years, serving as one of the main ways residents of SF and tourists get around. It’s also a great way to get to and from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). 

The fare for BART is based on the distance you travel, so can vary depending on where you’re going. 

You can use the BART fare calculator and also the BART transportation map to see where it goes and plan your next trip. 

3. Historic cable cars 

One of the most unique and iconic things about San Francisco is its use of cable cars. Cable cars act as another character in the soul of the city and are a must for any tourist visiting the Bay. As a resident, it’s a different way to get around the city and reminds you of the magic in the city. 

The historic cable cars are also run by Muni and cost a flat $8 as of September 2021. According to the SFMTA website, there are the cable car routes to choose from:

Cable cars are a quintessential San Francisco experience, having been invented in the city close to 150 years ago and are one of the more delightful ways to get around San Francisco. 

4. Driving 

Aside from the abundance of public transportation options, it’s possible to drive around the city to get where you need to go as well. Though the city is known for its hills, which can make driving stick a bit tricky, it’s also known for its beautiful geography and historic sites which can make driving a fun way to see the local surroundings. 

On top of that, safety is a priority. The city of San Francisco is working toward safety for all people traveling the San Francisco streets with their Vision Zero SF program, which works toward ending traffic-related deaths. 

The good news is that the city is relatively small and there are many San Francisco public transportation options, which means you may not need to drive as much as you think. 

Residents can benefit from opting for pay-per-mile insurance with Metromile, where you pay a small base rate and pay several cents for every mile you drive up to 250 miles per day. You’re used to paying gas by the gallon, why not pay insurance by the mile? Metromile offers affordable auto insurance coverage for low-mileage drivers. 

5. Biking 

You don’t have to use four wheels to get around SF, but you can opt for two wheels instead and use a bike. Though San Francisco is well-known as a walkable and public transportation-friendly city, it’s also one of the most bikeable cities in the U.S. as well. 

As of 2019, there were 9 miles of additional bikeways added, 670 bike racks were installed and approximately 52,000 cyclists were accounted for during peak periods, according to SFMTA bike data. If your preferred San Francisco transport is a bike, be sure to helmet up! 

6. Walking 

Who needs wheels when you can use the power of your own two feet? San Francisco city streets were designed for maximum walkability. It’s easy to walk around parts of the city like downtown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and more. Walking can let you see more of the city at your own pace and explore new avenues of discovery. 

The city of SF is also committed to creating safer streets for pedestrians and making it easier and better to walk where you need to go. 

Emerging  San Francisco transport options 

Aside from the six most common San Francisco transportation options listed above, there have been new modes of transport that have hit the market in recent years that you can utilize as well. 

Privately-owned commuter shuttles 

San Francisco is a tech hub and privately-owned commuter shuttles have become a thing. These types of shuttles bring employees to work from specific neighborhoods. One of the most popular is the “Google bus” which transports employees from San Francisco to Mountain View. There are over 125 shuttle stops, according to SFMTA data. 

Ride-share options like Uber and Lyft 

When it comes to getting around in San Francisco, there are also ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Using Uber and Lyft, you can book a car and driver to take you where you need to go with a mobile app. 

Using the bike share program 

If you don’t have your own bike but still want to get around San Francisco by bike, you’re in luck. The city has a bike share network where you can affordably rent a bike for a short trip. It’s a way to get around the city by bike and can be good if traffic is high and you want to get somewhere fast. 

Electric moped

San Francisco also has electric mopeds or e-mopeds that are shared similar to the bike share program. Using a mobile app, you can book a shared moped to get around town. On top of adding one more way to travel around San Francisco, e-mopeds also create no emissions at all so it’s a good choice for the environment. 

The bottom line 

As you can see, the San Francisco transport options are abundant. Whether you want to choose San Francisco public transportation, your own two feet, or opt for a rideshare program, bike share, or moped share, the city has got you covered. If you live in San Francisco and utilize these options, you may be considered a low-mileage driver. Using traditional car insurance, you may be paying more than you need to. Why pay more when you can pay just for the miles you drive plus a low base rate? It’s time to re-think your auto insurance and get a smarter, more affordable option with pay-per-mile insurance. Check out your Metromile quote today. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

2021 Top 10 Cities with Worst Traffic in the U.S.

Driving can give you a sense of freedom while on the open road. You feel your hands on the wheel, feet on the pedal, and can go full speed ahead wherever you want. There’s one surefire way to kill that vibe and that is dealing with traffic. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you know how frustrating and annoying it can be. If you want to avoid traffic or are just curious how your city ranks, we’ve outlined the top 10 cities with the worst traffic.

Top 10 Cities with Worst Traffic in the U.S. | Metromile

Our methodology 

To rank the cities with worst traffic, we looked at the 2021 Urban Mobility Report and looked at two primary metrics. We looked at the average delays commuters faced due to traffic as well as excess fuel consumption due to congestion. It should be noted that these numbers are based on 2020 data and there were notable changes from 2019, likely due to the pandemic. 

In the report, the metrics are described as: 

“Yearly Delay per Auto CommuterExtra travel time during the year divided by the number of people who commute in private vehicles in the urban area” (info on pg 32). 

“Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter—Extra fuel consumed during the year divided by the number of people who commute in private vehicles in the urban area” (info on pg 44). 

Based on this data we created the list of cities with worst traffic in the U.S. below. 

10. Seattle, WA 

The Emerald City, also known as Seattle, is well-known for its stunning geography and its signature Space Needle. It’s also highly ranked for public transportation. Even though it’s a walkable city with robust transportation options, it’s ranked number 10 on the list of worst traffic in the U.S. 

Though some people have moved out of Seattle during the pandemic, its population growth has been steady over the past few years. According to Washington State Wire, in 2020 “Seattle’s population increased by 13,800 people to 761,100.”

More people mean more people on the road. According to the 2021 Urban Mobility Report, in Seattle, the Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter was 31 hours. Dealing with more traffic led to increased gas consumption as well, with Seattleites using 13 gallons as part of Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter.

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 31 hours 

 Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 13 gallons 

9. Detroit, MI 

Detroit’s nickname is pretty apt considering it made it to the list of worst traffic cities in the U.S. Often referred to as the “Motor City”, Detroit used to be the hub for the automotive industry with Henry Ford transforming the area. 

Detroit ranked ninth on the list of cities with worst traffic, causing commuters to experience yearly delays of 35 hours. When it comes to excess fuel, drivers in Detroit used 13 gallons in excess fuel. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 35 hours  

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 13 gallons 

8. Atlanta, GA and Philadelphia, PA (tied) 

Atlanta, Georgia is known for its music scene and Philadelphia as the city of brotherly love and its art scene. Both cities serve as cultural hubs and are tied when it comes to the cities with worst traffic. 

Both Atlanta and Philadelphia commuters faced annual delays of 37 hours. The cities were also tied when it comes to excess fuel consumption due to congestion, which amounted to 15 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 37 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 15 gallons 

7. Chicago, IL 

Chicago is known for its brutal winters, sports teams, and pizza. On top of that, it holds the title for the most populous city in the Midwest. Even though Chicago has a well-connected public transportation system, it still has lots of traffic as well. 

Commuters in Chicago had an annual delay of 39 hours. On top of that, the extra delays and congestion led to excess fuel consumption of 16 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 39 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 16 gallons 

6. Dallas, TX 

Dallas is known for its BBQ, football and is the 9th largest city in the U.S. It also was home to the first convenience store, 7-11, which you probably know of today. Convenience stores are helpful for drivers on the road who want to grab-and-go with a snack or a beverage in hand. Which could come in handy as you might be sitting in your car for a minute because Dallas is ranked sixth on the list of cities with worst traffic in the U.S. 

Commuters experienced an annual delay of 40 hours due to congestion. On top of that, Dallas drivers had 16 gallons of excess fuel consumption due to traffic as well. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 40 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 16 gallons 

5. Washington, D.C. 

Our nation’s capital is home to many popular tourist attractions, historical sites, and of course, the President. While the city has many public transportation options, the city also has a lot of commuters who live in the nearby DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia). 

Unfortunately, D.C has half a million commuters and has some of the longest commute times in the country, according to NPR. D.C. drivers experienced an annual delay of 42 hours. Those delays led to 16 gallons of excess fuel consumption. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 42 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 16 gallons 

4. Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA (tied) 

The Golden State is home to two offenders on the worst traffic cities in the U.S. list. Los Angeles and San Francisco are tied in the fourth spot. 

LA is well-known for its beaches, entertainment and music industries, and traffic (no surprise!). San Francisco is a tech town and home to the Golden Gate bridge but like D.C. also has a ton of commuters from nearby Bay Area cities. 

LA and SF drivers had annual delays of 46 hours due to congestion. The cities differ when it comes to excess fuel consumption with Los Angeles commuters using 14 gallons in excess fuel consumption and San Francisco commuters using 17 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 46 hours 

LA Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 14 gallons 

SF Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 17 gallons 

3. Houston, TX 

Houston is home to Beyoncé and NASA and is one of the most diverse places in the U.S. On top of that, the city is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. Considering the large population, it’s no wonder Houston is ranked third on the list for cities with worst traffic. 

Houston drivers experienced annual delays of 49 hours. All of that traffic plus delays led to excess fuel consumption of 21 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 49 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 21 gallons 

2. Boston, MA 

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the nation, being founded in 1630 by Puritans fleeing religious persecution. Nowadays, Boston is known for Fenway park, higher ed institutions like Harvard, and the Museum of Fine Arts. While Boston has many options for public transportation, it’s also home to lots of traffic as well. That’s why it comes in the 2nd spot on the list for worst traffic cities in the U.S. 

Commuters had annual delays that totaled 50 hours — or more than a full workweek. The extra congestion on the road led to excess fuel consumption of 20 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 50 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 20 gallons 

1. New York, NY 

The Big Apple is well-known for its subway system, museums, Broadway and so much more and is the most populous city in the U.S. The city was recently ranked as the top spot for public transportation by Metromile. Unfortunately, as of 2020, it’s also the top spot for congestion as well. It should be noted that rankings have shifted from 2019 to 2020, likely due to the pandemic as Los Angeles used to hold the top spot in 2019. 

Drivers experienced annual delays of 56 hours as of 2020. It also takes the top spot for excess fuel consumption due to traffic, using up 23 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 56 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 23 gallons 

The bottom line 

The pandemic has shifted driving behavior as well as reduced the amount of commuters on the road, but traffic is still a big issue in many major cities. Whether your city made it on the list of cities with worst traffic or not, you want to make sure you’re getting the most affordable car insurance coverage out there. You could only pay for the miles you drive plus a low base rate with pay-per-mile car insurance. Check out your free quote to see about potential savings. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.