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An App That Tells You How Walkable a Street Really Is

Walkonomics looks at small things -- sidewalk quality, hilliness -- that make a real difference to walkers.
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Back in 2007, when the walkability rating system Walk Score launched, it was an exciting development for everyone who cares about pedestrian-friendly cities. Using information about amenities such as stores, restaurants, schools, banks, and other neighborhood needs, Walk Score allows users to type in an address in any of the 50 largest U.S. cities and get a number rating. The service is now extremely popular among real estate agents, among others, and has gone a long way toward popularizing the idea that “walkability” is both something that can be defined and is much to be desired.

While Walk Score has been continually upgrading and refining its methodology – starting to incorporate block length into its algorithms, instituting a transit score and a bike score for some locations – what it doesn’t do, yet, is incorporate more fine-grained and diverse data about the quality of the pedestrian experience.