What is Walk-Score and Why Important?

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So what is a Walk Score?

If you are asking this question, you have probably vaguely heard of Walk Score, seen it on a real estate listing, and think you know what it is, but aren’t quite sure.

Something like this look familiar?

screenshot of walkscore on ils listing

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.

Many people want to be able to walk from our apartment/home to shops, grocery stores, food places, and activities.

It’s more convenient and quicker than getting in your car, plus it’s good exercise.

But how do you measure just “how walkable an area is?”

Invention: Walk Score Arrives

Enter Walk Score.

Back in 2007, two former tech gurus were thinking the same thing, and founded a company called “Walk Score” in Seattle, Washington (now owned by Redfin), which has become the ubiquitous #1 standard for Measuring Walkability.

So What is a Walk Score?

A Walk score is exactly what it sounds like, a single score to tell you you just how walkable a particular location, neighborhood, or city is.

So if you are wondering which area is more walkable than another, you can compare their “Walk Scores.”

Example of Walk Score:

245 East 40th Street

Walker’s Paradise

Learn more about New York 

How does Walk Score Work?

Software Magic. The company uses a patented algorithm that measures distance to various amenities (the closer the better). It also looks at things like block length, intersection difficulties, etc.

This generates a single Walk Score.

Where do I find Walk score?

This score now appears on their website, and 30,000 other sites, including Apartments.com, Zillow, Redfin, Zumper, and more.

What is a Good Walk Score?

A Walk Score of:

90-100 is the highest. This is what they call walker’s paradise where daily errands do not require a car.

70-89 is very walkable. Most errands can be accomplished on foot.

50-69 is somewhat walkable. Some errands can be accomplished on foot.

25-49 is Car-Dependent. Most errands require a car.

0-24 is Car-Dependent. Almost all errands require a car.

Walkability: Urban vs Suburb

With all this in mind, it is easy to see why urban areas are considered more walkable and therefore have better, higher walkability scores than suburban areas.

Think about it this way: whether someone is in a wheelchair, biking or rollerblading to a grocery store 3 blocks from their homes, they should all have the ability to travel on the same streets without issue.

Rocks and potholes shouldn’t create uneven terrain to cross.

The crosswalks should also have signs that let them know how much time remains for them to safely cross the street.

When these factors exist harmoniously in one neighborhood, the walkability score soars!

This also helps residents feel a connection to their community because they can easily travel without taking a car or even public transit to get to their destination.

Finding Your City’s Walk Score

You can get a walk score for your address, your neighborhood, or even city.

Currently, the number #1 city for Walk Score in the United States is San Francisco, CA (Walk score 88.7), followed by #2 New York, NY (88.0) Jersey City, NJ (86.6), Boston, MA (82.8), Chicago, IL  (77.2), Washington D.C. (76.7), Miami, FL (76.6), Newark, NJ (75.9), Oakland, CA (75.3), Philadelphia, PA (74.8).

Consider walk score in your next search for a home. Take it into context as well, it’s just one algorithm’s opinion, and be sure the location meets your needs, is affordable, well-located, etc.

image showing people walking in the city - philadelphia


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