Engineering a New World

List of Largest Cities in the USA with No Metro / Passenger Rail


Living in Washington, DC, my Facebook feed is commonly filled up with complaints of “I HATE METRO!” whenever a train breaks down, track maintenance is being performed, A/C quits on one of the train cars, etc.  But, in comparison with many cities, we’re extremely fortunate to have a clean, non-rat-infested rapid-transit system which covers nearly the entirety of the urban area of DC Metro.

So, as a counterpoint to this, I’ve compiled a list of the 10  largest cities in the USA  with no Metro system of any sort – where your only option getting to work is either (a) sitting in your car in traffic, or (b) sitting in a bus that’s sitting in the same traffic as your car would be.

City Metro Area Population Rail Transit Commuter / Intercity Rail
Detroit, MI 5,207,434 There is a 2.9 mile people-mover loop in the downtown area, but no metro or light rail.  They plan to construct a first light-rail line by 2015. No commuter rail. Amtrak for inter-city service.
Orlando, FL 2.861,296 No metro or light rail. No commuter rail. Amtrak for inter-city.  There is meant to be a commuter rail line called SunRail which will open in 2014 and serve the I-4 corridor.
Tampa / St. Pete / Clearwater, FL 2,824,724 No metro or light rail. There’s a downtown tourist trolly in Tampa, but this is not for commuters.  Plus, it’s slower than walking. No commuter rail. Daily Amtrak service for inter-city.
San Antonio, TX 2,194,927 Nope, just buses. Daily Amtrak trains (no commuter rail)
Cincinnati, OH 2,179,965 No light rail or metro.  The city tried to construct a subway in 1927, but it was never completed – leaving a massive un-used tunnel under the city.  Every plan to try to bring train service to Cinci has failed thus far.  Edit: Adding link to new Cinci streetcar system which broke ground in 2012, set to open by 2015. No commuter rail. Amtrak service for inter-city.
Kansas City, MO 2,122,908 No light rail or metro.  Despite being the poster-child for urban sprawl (there are more freeway-miles per-capita in KC than anywhere in the USA), measures to re-construct what once was one of the finest streetcar systems in the world have repeatedly failed.  Edit: Adding link to new KC streetcar which is meant to open in 2015. No commuter rail. Amtrak service for inter-city.
Indianapolis, IN 2,103,574 No metro or light rail. No commuter rail. Amtrak for inter-city.
Columbus, OH 2,093,185 No metro or light rail.   Columbus is actually the largest city in the USA with no passenger train service of any kind whatsoever. No passenger rail service of any sort.
Raleigh-Durham, NC 1,795,750 No metro or light rail. No commuter service. Amtrak serves inter-city.
Milwaukee, WI 1,757,604 No metro or light rail. No commuter rail, and governor recently snubbed inter-city rail to Madison.  Only passenger rail service is 1x/daily Empire Builder and 7x/daily Hiawatha service to Chicago.