Walk Score Web Tool – How Walkable is Your Neighborhood?

The brilliant minds at Front Seat, a Seattle based software company, developed a web tool called Walk Score which ranks addresses based on walkability.

Walking

You type in the address you are interested in and, according to the Walk Score website, the tool assesses the walkability based on the amenities within 1 mile of the address:

Walk Score uses a patent-pending system to measure the walkability of an address.  The Walk Score algorithm awards points based on the distance to amenities in each category.  If an amenity is within .25 miles (or .4 km), we assign the maximum number of points.  The number of points declines as the distance approaches 1 mile (or 1.6 km) – no points are awarded for amenities further than 1 mile.  The points are summed and normalized to yield a score from 0-100.  The number of nearby amenities is the leading predictor of whether people walk.

The tool lets you know what amenities are nearby but does not take into account street design, safety or weather so you have to use your own real-world judgement (and possibly other tools like Google Street View) to assess if the area is suitable for walking.  Walk Score has become a favorite in the real estate industry to help homebuyers find houses and apartments in walkable neighborhoods.

How it Works

Walk Score

Go to www.walkscore.com and type an address in the box.  Click “Go” and Walk Score will display the walk score for that address with an overview map that identifies the nearby amenities and their distance:

Walk Score Result

90-100 = Walker’s Paradise-Daily errands do not require a car

70-89 = Very Walkable-Most errands can be accomplished on foot

50-69 = Somewhat Walkable-Some amenities within walking distance

25-49 = Car-Dependent-A few amenities within walking distance

0-24 = Car-Dependent-Almost all errands require a car

Some of the amenity categories include restaurants, coffee, groceries, shopping, banking, schools, parks, books, juice bars and entertainment.  In addition to the walk score, the tool displays public transportation information, a comparison of your addresses walk score compared to the city average and a commute map.

The commute map is a great feature.  Click on the Commute tab.  Type in the address for where you are going in the “Where do you commute?” box and the tool displays a map with the option to view auto, public transit, bicycling or walking routes.  Here is my driving route from the City Place Shopping Center in Long Beach to Cal State University Long Beach:

Walk Score Drive Commute

Notice how the commute route and hill information changes when I switched from the automobile route (above) to the bicycle route (below).

Walk Score Bike Commute

Walk Score has also ranked 2,508 neighborhoods in the largest 40 U.S. cities.  For instance, in Los Angeles Mid City West, Downtown and Hollywood claim the top 3 spots in the “most walkable” list.  You can find the most walkable neighborhoods for the largest 40 U.S. cities here.  Of course the individual scores for each address within a neighborhood will vary but it’s fun to see how areas rank in general.

iPhone App

Walk Store also offers a free iPhone app that will give you the walk score of any location along with a map of nearby amenities, walking directions, reviews and ratings.  The reviews and ratings are powered by Yelp.  For more information click here.

After entering an address (or the GPS option to use your current location) the app generates a walk score with both a map view and list view of the nearby amenities.

Walk Score App MapWalk Score App Amenities

Tap on an amenity category for a list of all businesses within a mile in that category. Then tap on any business for detailed information and reviews.

Walk Score App RestaurantsWalk Store App Restaurant Info

Benefits of Walkability

Besides the physical, mental and environmental benefits of walking there are other upsides to living in a walkable neighborhood.  A study by CEOs for Cities found that one point of Walk Score is worth as much as $3,000 on the housing market.  Read Walking The Walk:  How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities.

My Walk Score

The Walk Score for my home address was 71 out of 100 which is “Very Walkable”.  The map showed that there are numerous restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and other amenities within easy walking distance.  The closest restaurant and movie theater is only 0.11 miles and the nearest grocery store is 0.12 miles.  Having lived here for many years I already knew this but I can see how this would be a fabulous tool for assessing a potential new home or neighborhood.

My Commute Score

I mostly telecommute but I used the Walk Score Commute function to assess the drive to my office and found that while it is a 35 minute drive (29 miles), it would be a 1 hour and 51 minute bike ride (21 miles) or a 6 hour and 13 minute walk (19 miles).

Check out Walk Score here and let us know how walkable your neighborhood is in the Comments below!

Comments

  1. I was all prepared to love this. I looked up my house. It got a score of 37. Ok, there is not too much I can walk to. But I have walked to the grocery store, Walgreens, and a few other places a couple of times. Then I looked up the house where I grew up, and it had a score of 38?!?! Better than where I live now? No way. You need to walk at least 1.5 miles to get out of the residential area, and that doesn’t even factor in the huge mountain it is on. I think a big downfall of this program is that it doesn’t factor in hills. There is a big difference between walking a mile or two in a flat area as opposed to in a hilly area. It is a great idea, but still needs work in my opinion – sorry!

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