Raleigh drives to the top of the rankings

Earlier this month, Raleigh was named the best place to drive in America — or at least the most friendly to drivers. WalletHub ranked cities by 30 “driver friendliness” indicators, ranging from fuel prices to hours of congestion to cost of ownership.

Durham ranked 31st, while cities like Atlanta and Washington DC did not crack the top 50 (D.C. was 94th). Austin, Texas was 11th.

WalletHub arrived at the rankings in this way:  they created four broad dimensions of driver friendliness:  traffic and infrastructure; safety; cost of ownership/maintenance; and access to vehicles/maintenance. The first three dimensions they gave equal weight to (30% each), with the last dimension at 10%. They then identified between 5 and 10 metrics for each of the four dimensions, used verifiable outside sources to score each metric for each of 100 cities. Metrics were not weighted equally; those varied from average gas prices (8.57% of total score) to quality of bridges (0.91% of total) — this means that fuel prices were more than 9x as important to a city’s score than bridge quality.

It was refreshing to see a ranking methodology where items were not weighted equally; instead, the broad dimensions were assigned relative percentages and then the categories weighted within those.

Like any ranking, how your city or area scores depends on both what is being scored and what weight is being applied to each factor. There is no “fair” or “scientific” way to do such a ranking, as the inclusion or omission of a factor, and the choice to weigh all factors equally or not, are all policy choices. There can be valid, defensible reasons for those choices — but choices they are.

I believe that Raleigh is a great place to drive, and it is also becoming an increasingly great place to travel across a variety of modes. I believe Durham is as well (Cary and Chapel Hill were not included in the rankings), and RTA will continue to push for the investments, policies, and strategies needed to ensure we maintain and enhance effective mobility.

Let’s get moving,



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