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”.

Via Rockville Central. Chart from Reconnecting America.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.