With a land area of just 85 square miles and a population of less than 400,000, Honolulu is compact enough that commuting isn't tough. TheBus transit system, with ridership of more 70 million annually, makes it even easier. TheBus has twice been named "America's Best Transit System" by the American Public Transportation Association.
Average commute time: 16.2 minutes
Non-car commuters: 21.4 percent
The center of the second-largest metro area in Utah is not well known for public transportation. Only recently has the city government been discussing plans for a bus rapid transit system that would become operational in 2012. But many Provo commuters don't need public transit to get to work without driving: More than 13 percent of the city's workers walk, putting Provo in the top 10 of all U.S. cities for pedestrian commuters.
Average commute time: 16.9 minutes
Non-car commuters: 20.7 percent
Eugene makes the list because it has many of the same traits of other cities with short commutes and relatively low car use. Home to the University of Oregon, Eugene is a small city of only about 40 square miles. Its size and culture mean that there are plenty of people interested in biking and walking rather than burning gas for a few short miles.
Average commute time: 16.3 minutes
Non-car commuters: 20.1 percent
Syracuse does not have a transit system beyond buses, and it's not particularly compact. But it makes the list for a number of other reasons. The 2000 census found Syracuse to be the 12th in the country in terms of having the most pedestrian commuters—just one spot behind New York City. More than 10 percent of Syracuse's commuters walk to work. Also, while it's one of the largest cities in one of the largest states, Syracuse's metro area population is less than 1 million, so traffic isn't a huge issue. Finally, the city's Centro bus system connects workers to employment areas within the city and surrounding counties. Centro boasts ridership of 42,000 daily.
Corrected on 11/13/2009: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Boston's MBTA rapid transit system has two stops on two different lines in Cambridge. There are five stops on the Red Line and one stop on the Green Line in Cambridge.