4 Most Efficient Public Transportation Systems in the U.S.

When it comes to choosing a place to live, an accessible and efficient public transportation system is typically at the top of the list in terms of a city's highlights. Homeowners within walking distance of public transit reap far more benefits than just saving time and money on their commute; their homes also have better resale value. Research suggests that people living near public transportation are happier, too. Here are the four U.S. cities with the best public transit options.

1. New York City

With so many well-run public transportation choices, it's no wonder the Big Apple ranks first on the list. Thanks to New York's extensive subway, bus, and CitiBike systems, residents are always within a 15-minute-or-less walk to public transit. The NYC subway system is the largest in the world by track mileage -- the system spans 656 miles.

On an average weekday, the subway provides 5.5 million rides, and the bus system provides more than 2.5 million rides. CitiBike, the city's bike-share program, offers 6,000 bikes for rental for 24 hours or seven days, with the first 30 minutes free.

2. San Francisco

In addition to its diversity, year-round gorgeous weather, and celebrated architecture, San Francisco's top-notch public transit system makes it one of the best places to live in the country. San Fran has several transportation options, including bus, trolleybus, cable car, and streetcar lines provided by MUNI. MUNI serves every destination and neighborhood within the city limits.

Residents also have access to BART train lines that serve the entire Bay Area, and CalTrain, which serves San Francisco, San José, and the Peninsula.

3. Boston

Home to the oldest subway system in the U.S., Boston's vast transportation system is as efficient as it is well-established. The MBTA, or "T" system, includes five high-speed subway lines (Orange, Red, Green, Silver, and Blue).

The MBTA also runs bus lines that reach all the places the subway does and then some. Finally, Bostonians have access to the commuter rail, which is ideal for commuting to and from the suburbs of cities like Providence, Ipswich, and Worcester.

4. Washington, D.C.

The WMATA (Metro) makes living in the surrounding area of D.C. and working in the heart of the city possible. The Metrorail remains one of the busiest rapid-transit systems in the U.S., offering stations near monuments, museums, and other landmarks. The Metro operates from 5:30 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends.

Trains depart every six to 12 minutes, and single fares start at $1.70. For areas without a rail station, there's the MetroBus, which has fares and hours comparable to that of the Metrorail.

The perks of an efficient public transit system are endless -- it's good for the environment, real estate value, and the people who use it. Keep these four cities in mind when considering your next move. All four offer unparalleled public transportation that'll help get you to and from work and all your other destinations affordably and efficiently.