Amid growing evidence that consumers highly value neighborhood walkability, Walk Score has released its 2014 rankings of the most “walkable” U.S. cities, with New York City (Walk Score: 87.6), San Francisco (83.9) and Boston (79.5) claiming the top three spots.
The next seven cities on the top 10 list are: Philadelphia (Walk Score: 76.5), Miami (75.6), Chicago (74.8), Washington, D.C. (74.1), Seattle (70.8), Oakland (68.5) and Baltimore (66.2).
As real estate sites increasingly weave Walk Scores into their sites, evidence suggests that many buyers and renters may be paying close attention to them.
Sixty percent of respondents to a recent survey conducted by National Association of Realtors (NAR) said they favored a mixed-use, walkable neighborhood rather than one in which they would be more dependent on driving.
The affinity for walkability is even higher among millennials, according to Walk Score. Seventy percent believe walkability is important or vital when deciding where to live, the company said.
“For decades, Americans have tended to drive more every year, but that’s changing,” said Josh Herst, CEO at Walk Score. “Today commuting by bus, bike and foot are on the rise as more people choose apartments and homes in walkable neighborhoods and with shorter, cheaper and happier commutes.”
The number of sites that display Walk Scores has jumped to 30,000 from 5,000 three years ago, bringing the concept of walkability into sharp focus for many more people searching for homes online.
Drawing on a wide array of data sources, the company calculates Walk Scores by analyzing hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities and assigning points based on the amount of time it takes to walk to those amenities. It also measures pedestrian-friendliness by analyzing population density and metrics such as block length and intersection density.