In July, WalkScore.com released their 2011 list of Top 50 Most Walkable Cities, and not surprisingly, some of the largest and most condensed U.S. cities topped the list: New York City, San Francisco, and Boston took spots one, two, and three, respectively. But what makes a city “walkable”?
According to WalkScore.com, a city’s walkable ranking is dependent upon how many of the following it has:
- A town center, whether it’s a main street or public space
- People, enough to sustain local businesses and a public transportation infrastructure
- Affordable housing within reasonable proximity to local businesses
- Public parks and gathering space
- Buildings located close to the street, with parking lots located behind them
- Schools and workplaces located within reasonable walking distance
- Streets offering lane options for bikers, pedestrians, and transit
Health Perks and More
Aside from the obvious health benefits walking provides, opting to travel by foot versus car is also beneficial to the environment by decreasing emissions levels. And your wallet will enjoy the boost too! According to the website, “One point of Walk Score is worth up to $3,000 of value for your property.” Not to mention, imagine the dollars you save on gas by traveling on foot.
What’s the Score?
WalkScore.com’s rating method is based on a points system that measures how easy it is to live car-free or “car-lite.” The algorithm used awards points based on distance to various amenities within particular categories. Think businesses, schools and the like.
The scoring system ranges from 0 – 100 and breaks down as follows:
90-100: Walker’s Paradise: No car needed for daily errands
70-89: Very Walkable: Most errands can be done on foot
50-69: Somewhat walkable: Some amenities are within walking distance
25-49: Car-dependent: A few amenities are within walking distance
0-24: Car-dependent: Almost all errands require a vehicle
To find out how your address and city rank, visit WalkScore.com.