What is a Walkscore Anyway?

What is a "Walk Score" anyway? You may have noticed that we include information about the walkability of a particular property or neighborhood when discussing which apartment, townhome or condo may be right for you.

There is an incredible online resource called www.walkscore.com that has indexed over 2,500 US neighborhoods so that the overall walkability can be compared from one to another. But what is the science behind "Walk Score", and why do we care anyway? Benefits of Walkability Living in a walkable neighborhood offers benefits to our pocketbook, health, the environment and community:

  • Walk and Save Money: In 2007, the US Department of Labor estimated that 18% of household expenditures are transportation related. If you live in a walkable neighborhood, you can choose to leave your car behind to run errands, shop or when you visit the neighborhood pub. You'll save money on fuel costs, toll fees and parking expenses.
  • Walk and Save the Environment: Cars are the number one contributor to heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2)emissions which lead to global warming and destruction of the environment. Choose to walk - a zero-emission alternative.
  • Walk and Lose Weight and Get Healthy: Medical experts recommend 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity such as walking everyday to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Walking at a brisk pace can also aid in weight loss or weight maintenance. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking can burn between 183 and 414 calories per hour depending on pace and body weight. Every step counts, and steps add up quickly!
  • Walk and Expand Your Social Network: If you live in a walkable area, you are more likely to meet your neighbors and thereby increase your social network.

"Dallas Tram Network", photo by Yury Maller.

Walk Score Science We visited www.walkscore.com to research what factors are considered in determining how walkable a neighborhood is and the overall Walk Score. Here is what we found:

  • High Density: A high density neighborhood with enough people/pedestrian traffic to support a variety of local businesses.
  • Main Drag: A discernible center, whether a shopping district, main street or public space.
  • Mixed Use: A development including live, work and play options catering to a diverse group of people is considered more walkable than one without these components.
  • Infrastructure for Everyone: Street and walkways designed to accommodate everyone, including bicyclists, pedestrians of all ages, people getting off of mass transit, and accessibility for those in wheelchairs.

The Lofts of West 7th in Fort Worth Walkscore.com 87

We were also curious about which Texas cities made the list of "America's Most Walkable Neighborhoods" published on www.walkscore.com. These are included in the top 40: #24 Dallas, #26 Houston, #29 Austin, #31 El Paso, #32 San Antonio, and #33 Fort Worth. Within each of these cities there are some wonderful walkable neighborhoods. 

When choosing your next home we hope you consider the walkability of a neighborhood as a search criteria and use walkscore.com as a go to reference tool!