What makes a top city for startups? According to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and startup incubator, 1776, it’s a combination of Capital (access to financial resources), Culture (openness to new people and new ideas), Density (existing startup population and continued potential for growth), Connectivity (economic and municipal support for startups), Industry Specialization (potential for growth for multiple industries), Talent (the ability talented employees near and far).
The other keys to a thriving business community are its transportation network which allows access to a larger pool of talent and employee benefits to attract talent. Commuter benefits, especially, play an important role reducing a growing company’s impact on the environment and on traffic congestion, which improves the quality of life for the community it calls home.
So, here are the top five cities for startups and a brief overview of its transportation services.
#1 Boston – Access to capital, home to America’s top universities, and a strong economic support system for startups, it’s no wonder Boston came out on top. Commuters in Boston are served by the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) the oldest and largest transit systems in the U.S., operates its subways (The T), buses, commuter rails, and ferries.
#2 San Francisco – The center of startup culture, San Francisco holds its place as an ideal startup city with already established startup businesses, strong industry specialization, and institutions that are rich with talent. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is the regional transportation system serving the Bay Area, with trains connecting San Francisco with Peninsula and East Bay cities as well as the airports. SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority) operates the Muni, which are the buses, trolleys, streetcars and the iconic San Francisco cable cars.
#3 Philadelphia – The mayor of the City of Brotherly Love made it a goal to provide resources, special programs, develop partnerships and focus on growing a startup culture, and succeeded. Commuters rely on SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority), which provides buses, trolleys, trackless trolleys, subways and regional commuter rail services.
#4 San Diego – On the outskirts of the mighty Silicon Valley, San Diego has emerged over the past few years as a new destination for startups and entrepreneurs with the mission to make the world a better place. Similar to Philadelphia, a mayor dedicated to growing its startup culture, commissioned research to find ways to better foster innovation.
In a strong car culture, when it comes to commuting, there are still transit services for a change of pace and comfort. The NCTD (North County Transit District) is the San Diego region’s transportation network. Commuters can travel by the Coaster commuter rail, Sprinter light rail, Breeze bus system and Flex rural and on-demand service.
#5 Austin – Home to good music, good food, a strong creative vibe and the year’s biggest interactive, film and music festivals, South by Southwest, Austin has gained national attention as a destination for startup opportunities and growth. A reasonable cost of living and expertise flowing from its universities, including the University of Texas, known for its computer and tech programs, has established its position.
Austin’s transit system, Capital Metro, operates MetroBus for local travel, MetroExpress for travel outside and to the city center, MetroRapid for express bus service, MetroRail for longer distances in and out of the city, as well as university shuttles and late-night service.
In major commuting markets, commuter benefits are the must-have offering for employers looking to attract, retain and reward employees. Learn how it works!
* Source of images of the five cities: Unsplash
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