Formulating a New Metric for Walkability

Going beyond the analytical parameters of the popular Walk Score website, a new site aims to broaden the scope of analysis to include more qualitative information, such as safety and streetscape, in determining which areas are pedestrian friendly.
September 12, 2012, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As walkable urbanism emerges as a new paradigm in real estate development, and studies demonstrate the value of walkable places to economic and personal health, the marketplace for defining and rating places friendly to pedestrians is rapidly expanding. Ben Schiller profiles Walkonomics, a new site that aims to provide a new tool for measuring walkability by aiming to build "as comprehensive a picture as possible."

"Services such as Walk Score already score proximity to restaurants and shops (and more); how long your commute is; and allow you to compare areas. But, according to Adam Davies [founder of the site], that's only part of the story of walkability. Ideally, you also want to know things like how safe the streets are, whether the sidewalks are wide enough, how clear the signage is, and also--less tangibly--how clean the street is, and whether it's relaxing and fun. Distance, in other words, is not the only factor--perhaps not even the most important factor."

"Currently covering about 600,000 streets in the U.K. and U.S., the site is based on a mixture of government-sourced open data, and crowd-sourced information from users. Streets are scored across eight categories, based on data like traffic activity and crime statistics. Users can then give their own impressions, shifting the scores over time."

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Published on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 in Fast Company Co.Exist
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