Cool New Thing: What’s Your Walk Score?


As if USA Today featuring the "Complete Streets" movement on its front page weren’t enough to make one realize that walking is the biggest new way to earn your "green" points, a cool web site, Walk Score, rates the walkability of any location in the United States on a 0-100 scale. Based on the number of retail businesses and amenities near an address, this site analyzes how frequently one is likely to need to drive in the daily course of life. The closer things are to the places you’re likely to need, the better your score. Finally, a site that attempts to quantify the economic, environmental and social benefits of living in a city.

Above is the walk score for the Rocky Mountain Institute, the environmental think tank with the slogan "Abundance by Design." Given their score, 6 out of 100, one can see why they are focused on creating super-efficient vehicles that run on food but are silent, as far as I can tell, about the benefits of driving less, walking more, and interacting more with ones neighbors.

By its own admission, Walk Score has its flaws. Most glaringly, it does not include the proximity to transit stops. Also, it measures distance to a destination as the crow flies instead of as the cul-de-sac bends or halts one’s journey. But after plugging in a bunch of addresses, it seems remarkably accurate. Take for example, what has got to be the most walkable neighborhood in the country, planned, according to legend, by 17th century Dutch cows. When I lived there, I could go to my office, the subway, multiple restaurants, the pharmacy, and a bar without crossing the street, and the supermarket, the bank, more restaurants and bars and the bookstore were all just a minute or two away on foot. Walk Score, I think, rated it correctly:




Is Charlotte the Least Walkable City in America?

Walk Score just released its annual list of the nation’s most walkable cities, and the top of the list generally looks like what you’d expect. New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia took the top four spots, though our friends at Transit Miami did take strong exception to their hometown rating right up there in fifth place. All […]

Is San Fran More Walkable Than NYC?

Remember that web site, Walk Score, that you could use to rank your neighborhood’s pedestrian-friendliness? They just came out with a souped-up new version that is very cool yet somehow manages to rank San Francisco the #1 most walkable city in the U.S. and New York City #2. Is Eastern Queens really dragging us down […]

Walk Score Goes Multimodal With the Addition of Transit Score

Like much of Manhattan, Streetsblog HQ nets a "Rider’s Paradise" rating from Transit Score. One of the simplest and best tools for promoting walkable development has branched out into the full range of car-free transportation. Walk Score, the website which measures how many neighborhood amenities are within walking distance of a given location, has added […]