Cities with The Best
Public Infrastructure


Infrastructure is the term given to the actual physical operating systems of a city or nation. These can serve transportation, communications, sewage, water, and electricity supply. All these systems are important to development, health, prosperity and safety. Of course, it takes money to keep these systems operating well. They are often funded publicly, privately, or through public-private partnerships.

Realtor.com ® recently set out to find which cities are the best when it comes to infrastructure. Looking at the largest 150 metros, the website measured:

  • Percentage of roads in “good” or “fair” condition
  • Percentage of bridges that are “structurally deficient”
  • Transit performance score (tracking frequency and breadth of service)
  • Airport consumer satisfaction ratings
  • Bike friendliness, including bike lane access and public spending
  • Per capita government spending on drinking-water systems, electrical grids, highways, public transit, and sewage systems

We have their findings right here, starting with the top of the list:

Minneapolis, MN

Excellent infrastructure strength, and extra points for its light-rail system. In fact, the city has made a serious commitment to transit. Its first light-rail system, The Metro Blue Line, was created in 2004, at a cost of $700 million. Three more light-rail lines were opened since then. Light rail is a plus for construction and home values, and help riders feel like they are close to home and work.

“All the light-rail lines are beating projections and breaking ridership records,” Will Schroeer, executive director of East Metro Strong in Minneapolis, a transit advocacy group, tells realtor.com.

Seattle, WA

Tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft expand here, helping the city turn into one of the nation’s major tech hubs. The city earned a “Bike Friendly Rating” from the League of Bicyclists, as well as a great score for transit from AllTransit, a firm that offers transit data. Plans are underway to move a portion of State Route 99 underground, away from a spot that had been weakened by earthquakes.

Between 2010 and 2015, Seattle reported that 95 percent of its new commutes had been through biking, transit, walking, or a ferry service.

“We’re growing with our business community,” Rebecca Lovell, deputy director of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, tells realtor.com. “[A steady increase in residents are] driving us to think creatively about how to accommodate and move them quickly and safely around the city. It’s about figuring out how to access every mode of transportation.”

San Francisco, CA

This city was a pioneer in infrastructure improvement. In 1873, its cable car was one of the first public transportation innovations. By the 1950s, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) continued to decrease the need for automobiles. These days, the challenge is to maintain the public transit.

“We have good bones, but you have to give them calcium,” says Jason Henderson, a professor who specializes in urban mobility at San Francisco State University. “The most [popular] complaint is that the transit is crowded.”

Eugene, OR

Eugene is known for its high rate of bike commuting, which is nearly double the national rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the 1970s, the city installed a cycling master plan (way ahead of its time). Today, dedicated bike lanes and shared-use bike paths are the norm.

Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City has become the distribution leader of the West largely due to its fine infrastructure. In fact, the United Parcel Service (UPS) has constructed a new distribution center that can process 69,000 packages an hour.

Light rail is also a contributing factor to Salt Lake City’s infrastructure success. It handles 20 million riders a year.

“When I moved from D.C. to Salt Lake City, my commute went from two hours to 10 minutes,” Lara Fritts, director of Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development, told realtor.com. “So now I can enjoy more time in the mountains or the outstanding arts and culture that Salt Lake City is known for.”

Rounding out the top 10 cities for infrastructure are Omaha, NE; Austin, TX; Miami; Chattanooga, TN; and Atlanta.

KBS offers office space in many of these outstanding infrastructure locations:

Minneapolis

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San Francisco

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Salt Lake City

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Atlanta

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Check out all the KBS opportunities here.