So, what exactly makes a neighborhood “walkable”? According to Walk Score designers, the number of parks and public spaces, high enough density to sustain public transportation and business, and adequate affordable housing are important factors. Streets should be designed to support pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit simultaneously. It is easy to walk to school or one’s workplace in a walkable area.
In 2008, the District had the seventh highest Walk Score in the country. As the District implements plans to lower its carbon footprint, residents’ selection of walking as a mode of transportation will be critical to meeting our aggressive goals. In addition to lowering residents’ carbon footprints, walking provides many other benefits. Walking improves the health of the environment around us while boosting residents’ physical health at the same time. Residents of walkable neighborhoods weigh seven pounds less on average than those in car-dependent areas. What these residents shed in pounds, they may gain in dollars; one Walk Score point can be worth up to $3,000 of a property’s value. Those who walk as a primary mode of transportation can also pocket the cash that others spend on car maintenance, fuel, and public transit.
This indicator is measured by the District’s Walk Score. Walk Score is based on how easily you can live a car-free lifestyle, not on the aesthetic beauty of walking around the location. The score is determined by analyzing distance to amenities and pedestrian friendliness. Amenities are broken up into nine different categories, each holding a different weight according to its importance. Points are awarded based on distance to each of the amenities. If the amenity is closer than .25 miles it receives the highest points, while amenities over a mile receive no points. Length of blocks and intersection density are also taken into account. Additional information on exactly how Walk Score is calculated can be found here. It is updated on an annual basis.
What influences this indicator?
Walk Score takes into account the walking distance from one location to the closest amenities of nine different categories such as restaurants, shopping, coffee shops, banks, parks, schools, bookstores, and entertainment. Distance to a location, the number of locations for a particular amenity, and the weights assigned to each type of establishment affect the Walk Score.
What you can do to help:
Related indicators: Capital Bikeshare, Air Quality, Cars, Transit
Links to related programs