Many new towns are planned as balanced, self-contained communities. This paper examines the association between how self-contained new towns are and how their residents and workers commute, drawing upon experiences in the US, the UK, metropolitan Paris and greater Stockholm. While American new towns are fairly self-contained, their commuting characteristics are largely indistinguishable from ... [Show full abstract] less-planned control communities. Britain's most recent new towns are highly balanced and self-contained, yet they are comparatively auto-dependent. By contrast, the rail-served new towns outside Paris and Stockholm are the least self-contained among the new towns studied; however, most external commutes are by rail transit or other non-auto modes. In general, there was an inverse relationship between self-containment and transit commuting in the European new towns studied. The paper concludes that other policies, like coordinated transit services, more strongly influence commuting choices among new town residents and workers than initiatives aimed at jobs-housing balance and self-sufficiency.