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10 best cities for commuting into Boston: New report says Melrose, Belmont tops

Housing costs, travel times during rush hour factors in analysis

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Melrose is the best city for those who commute into Boston but don’t live in Boston, especially during rush hour, according to a new report from real estate research site Commercial Cafe.

The May 2019 report comes at a time when everything from the funding and infrastructural challenges that the Boston region’s mass transit faces to whether the state or individual municipalities should start charging motorists to drive into busier areas (a.k.a. congestion pricing) is up for debate.

It also comes as the Boston region’s vehicular traffic worsens, and new micromobility options creep forward.

Not surprisingly, the cities that landed on the list of most attractive for Boston-bound commuters include ones like Melrose and Belmont that are geographically closer to the bigger city.

The report analyzed commute times, average home prices, crime rates, and school quality in towns and cities five to 30 miles from Boston. Commute times got the most weight in the analysis, followed by housing costs. And the commute times were based on the shortest typical trip time for arriving in Boston between 7:40 and 8:10 on a Monday morning.

Melrose and Belmont each had an average commute time—by car and/or mass transit—of under 25 minutes. Medford’s average commute time of around 14 minutes bested each of the 10 cities in the analysis, however.

Other cities that made the cut included Arlington, Braintree, Dedham, Milton, Reading, Woburn, Malden. The last, though, ranked last—its higher housing costs weighed it down compared with less expensive locales.