Walk Score Helps Consumers Walk Away From the Pump

Earlier this week, I reviewed the new beta version of Hoodeo and lamented that it wasn’t more pedestrian-friendly. More people are beginning to consider the price of gas when choosing the location of a new home and Hoodeo didn’t do much to find walkable communities for interested users. In pointing this out, I would be remiss to not mention a site that has a leg up in this regard: Walk Score.

Walk Score gives areas and addresses a score on a scale of zero to 100 based on distance to retail, entertainment, restaurants and cafés. This is good news for people looking to trade their house and car keys for a condo and a pair of Mephistos and who want to find a neighborhood that will give them a reason to step out of the house without worrying about gas prices.

Walk Score’s system is limited, however, because it cannot account for tough hills, lack of infrastructure (safe sidewalks and crosswalks) and other obstacles which may make even a short distance a major obstacle. Most suburban areas will rank well below 50 points, which is considered unacceptable. This lack of walkability is precisely why suburbs may soon be less in demand in coming years (See our article Stepford No more: The Death of Suburbia). For now, Walk Score is only appropriate for people living close to downtowns or communities with a pedestrian-friendly town center.

Walk Score just released a list of the most walkable neighborhoods in my own area, Seattle, with an overall score of 72. To compare, the man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue enjoys a score of 86 (assuming he can count that high). Meanwhile, the home of the King of Rock (Graceland, that is) scores a measly 32. That’s still much better than the King of Pop can do: Neverland Ranch scores a perfect 0. Maybe that’s why Jacko abdicated to Dubai, which will probably have self-cleaning conveyor-belt sidewalks before the boom there is over.

Wandering back on track—Walk Score is limited, but the developers know this, so with time it may provide a much more accurate and useful tool. Though a little too arbitrary for use on its own, it could help some homeowners narrow the field, and used in conjunction with sites such as Hoodeo, it may have users running, not walking, to the best place of all: Home Sweet-New Home.

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5 comments:

June 28, 2008 at 2:30 AM Кирилл said...

My walk score is 35. That’s not so bad. This service can be rather useful especially for those
who are going to buy a house or just want to estimate their present location. I have also tried one more service at http://drivescore.fizber.com/. It is called Drive Score. With the help of it you can see how close establishments are by car. My result is 50. Drive Score calculates your score based on the number of places within a convenient driving distance. The greater the number of businesses
nearby the higher the drive score.

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