The best Austin neighborhoods (if you don’t have a car)

Image creds: Kirk Wallace & Latham Arnott

Austin is a wonderfully weird city. But how accommodating is it to weirdos (like us) who don’t have cars?

In preparation for SXSW, we began scouring Airbnb and Craigslist for a place to stay. Some hoods were cheap. Some hoods were central. Some hoods well.. um.. needed a car.

We’re a team of urban planners turned data scientists, so when we’re travelling we usually go a bit overboard on the “planning” part of our trip. We knew we wouldn’t have wheels in Austin next month, so we turned to our location scores to find a place to stay. Our algorithms help gauge the cyclist-friendliness, car-friendliness, transit-friendliness, and pedestrian-friendliness of neighborhoods, amongst other things. We’ve published our data for cities like NYC and Montreal, but never in Austin… until now. Here’s what we found out:

Cyclist-friendliness

Using our algorithms, we calculated the average bike/transit/car/walk-friendliness scores inside each of Austin’s 70(ish) central neighborhoods.

Turns out: if you live in downtown without a car, you’re in luck. However, if you live outside of the downtown core, you’d better have a car — or be a pretty courageous cyclist.

Austin’s most cyclist-friendly neighborhoods

  1. Old Enfield
  2. Shoal Crest
  3. Old West Austin
  4. Holly
  5. Downtown

Aaaaand where do you think Austin’s most famous biker lives?

Mr. Lance Armstrong lives in Old Enfield, which also happens to be Austin’s most bikeable neighborhood. Coincidence?

Car-friendliness

Okay. No surprises here: Austin is EXTREMELY car-friendly. There pretty much isn’t anywhere in the city where having motorized transport is a setback.
It’s not worth rhyming off the most car-friendly neighborhoods in Austin. So here are the least driveable neighborhoods instead:

Austin’s least car-friendly neighborhoods

  1. North University
  2. West University
  3. University of Texas
  4. Shoal Crest
  5. Heritage
Car culture starts early in Austin ;)

Transit-friendliness

Yikes! Look at all that red. After calculating the transit-friendliness of every neighborhood, it turns out that overall, Austin has poor public transit.

While we’ve never been to Austin before, it seems like our data lines up pretty well with what’s being reported by locals. Even though Austin is growing like crazy, the city’s transit ridership is actually going down. Similar to what we’ve seen in other cities, it seems like Austin is importing more car commuters than those beloved courageous cyclists.

If you’re planning on getting around Austin via Capital Metro, it’s best to live in one of these neighborhoods:

Austin’s most transit-friendly neighborhoods

  1. Downtown
  2. University of Texas
  3. Highland
  4. Bouldin Creek
  5. West University

However, even people who live in Austin’s “best” public transit neighborhoods won’t necessarily have an easy time taking public transit. Such is life!

Pedestrian-friendliness

Finally, what about pedestrians? We define “pedestrian-friendliness” as somewhere you can basically get everything you need via walking (and where walking is actually safe and pleasant to do).

These are the neighborhoods where it’s great to be a pedestrian:

Austin’s most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods

  1. Downtown
  2. West University
  3. Heritage
  4. Shoal Crest
  5. North University

Comparisons

In general, the closer you get to downtown and UT Austin, the easier it is to get around without a car. Biking seems to be a more reliable way of getting around than either transit or walking. And if you live in West/East Oak Hill… you better have a driver’s license!

Obviously, you probably already know how cyclist/car/transit/pedestrian-friendly your neighborhood is, but perhaps you’re less sure about other neighborhoods in Austin. We designed our algorithms to make it possible for you to find information on any location — down to a specific address — in the city, instantly.

Since we were using our product to plan our trip to SXSW already, we figured this would be a good time to share some of the fun (and perhaps unintuitive!) insights about Austin that we found. Local Logic calculates all sorts of things about neighborhoods you’re curious about: pedestrian-friendliness, proximity to schools, nearby taco shops… you name it. Whether you’re a local journalist covering the neighborhood beat, a real estate agent offering advice to a client, or an online listing website with hyper-local insights… we can serve you up some delicious insights. With data to back it up ;)

We’re launching in Austin this month. Check us out!

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Local Logic’s story.