Money has one of those silly rankings of the best places to live in America. Columbia, Maryland is #8; Hunter Mill, Sully, and Burke, Virginia #19, 25, and 31 respectively; Gaithersburg #29, Reston #37, and Rockville #66.
What do they all have in common? These are mostly low-density suburban places a long drive from the central employment areas. The rankings take into account housing prices (which helps Gaithersburg top Rockville) but not fuel costs, even though transportation costs are now higher than housing costs for many auto-dependent suburbs. At least Gaithersburg and Burke have commuter rail; not so for the higher-ranking “best places”.