So we’re excited to share a sneak peek at the work we’re doing to address one of our top customer requests: using walking distances rather than crow-flies distances when calculating a Walk Score.
“Street Smart” Walk Score
Here’s an example of a house located across a freeway from a shopping mall. Walk Score currently gives this location a higher score than it deserves, because crow-flies distances assume you’ll walk across the freeway.
The new “Street Smart” Walk Score uses walking routes and gives this location a lower score.
Here’s another example from Baltimore where Walk Score currently assumes you will swim:
Here’s a more accurate picture of what you can walk to — but the score doesn’t change much:
“Street Smart” Walk Score also incorporates a number of metrics that urban planners use to measure pedestrian friendliness:
- Intersection density measures how many intersections there are in a square mile— more is better.
- Another metric is something called link/node ratio. This measures how many roads go into each intersection (e.g. a 4-way intersection is more walkable than a 1-way cul-de-sac).
- Since shorter length blocks are more pedestrian friendly than long mega-blocks, block length as another proxy for pedestrian friendliness.
Here they are for my house in Seattle:
A big thanks to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for funding this work.