Walk Score, a website that ranks the walkability of neighborhoods, now includes public transit in its rankings.
Walk Score allows people to search their address—or, perhaps, the address of a place they're considering making their home—to find out how accessible things like shops, restaurants, workplaces, schools, and public space are to pedestrians (and now, bus, train, light rail, and trolley riders).
Walk Score also makes its rankings and maps of local amenities available for realtors to publish alongside property listings, and agents are finding that publicizing walkability and access to public transportation are a big plus for buyers.
“Walk Score is one of the best ways for us to address our consumers' demand toward finding homes that are in walkable neighborhoods," said Pat Lashinksy, the CEO of ZipRealty.com.
A 2008 study by Move, Inc. found that people consider proximity to daily conveniences to be the second most important factor in choosing a neighborhood. The same study found that very few potential home buyers were willing to sacrifice proximity to work (seven percent), shopping (six percent), and public transportation (three percent) when choosing a new house or apartment.
Along with easy access to schools, work, and amenities, Walk Score gives good rankings to neighborhoods that have a discernible center or main street; population density; parks and public space; pedestrian-friendly design; accessible streets; connected grids; speed controls; bicycle lanes; bus shelters; pedestrian medians; cross-walk timers, and socioeconomic diversity.
Brooke Jarvis is YES! Magazine's Web editor.
Interested? Traffic Calming with Furniture :: In Delft, the Netherlands, people put furniture in the streets of their neighborhood to slow down traffic. Soon the city itself was implementing similar plans of its own, called woonerfs (Dutch for “living yards"). Cities around the world now practice "traffic calming."