A new website called Walkscore has been launched to tell you how "walkable" a location is. Mostly, right now, it's for USA and Canadian addresses, but they are working on international support.
According to the website, "Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc." They give a score from 0 to 100, the higher the score the more "walkable" the area you live in. Walk Score™ uses a patent-pending algorithm to calculate the walkability of an address based on the distance to walkable locations near an address.
It does have some issues, specifically the lack of international support and the fact that it doesn't take into account things like topography of a location, freeways and other items that could block your path and any sort of safety information like how safe the neighbourhood is. But it's still pretty good at a few of the addresses that I tried out, and at least gives you an idea of what is in the neighbourhood you might be planning on staying in.
That's a great idea. Things like "located conveniently close to public transportation" can mean just about anything. Sounds like you can use it when trying to rent/buy a place too. Excellent!
I don't know how accurate the site actually is with regards to what is classed as walkable. I think it must base its measurements on a 100 year old lady who has got a heart condition, asthma and serious damage to her legs and hips so should be in a bed due to lack of mobility. I typed in an address I know is right in the heart of the city I live in and it come up rating it's walkability as 6 out of 100. I know for a fact that within very easy walking distance even for unfit people many bars, restaurants, coffee shops and almost every other one of the judging criteria it has at least one of but in most cases many of. Infact all the options except for schools in which you'd need to catch a bus for about 10 minutes for a primary school or walk about 15 minutes for a college and high school, a supermarket which for a slow walker is about 10 minutes away and a hardware store which is about 10-12 minute walk away are all within a maximum of 5 minutes walk for any person that is able to walk without pain. So if this site is actually remotedly accurate then the street address I put in should rate in the mid-high 90's making it extremely walkable and not rated as 6 out of 100 like it was.
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 31, 2007, at 6:23 AM by aharrold45 ]
I just plugged in the address for the hotel where we stayed at in Calgary. It's located across from Calgary Olympic Park (0.38 miles) in the "burbs". The only things that were really within walking distance were the Denny's restaurant and Bar One restaurant/bar (0.04 miles) located on the property. Oh, and the liquor store (not listed) across the driveway. The Sheridan (not listed) was a block away. Walk Score gave it a 38 out of 100 score. If I wanted to do some building while there, the Totem Building Supply store is only 1.11 miles away. If you wanted to walk to Calgary Olympic Park, you'd be taking you life into your own hands as you had to cross Trans Canada Highway 1, climb over the highway dividers, a couple of fences and cross 2 exit/entrance ramps - but it's only 0.38 miles away!
Interesting site though...
I typed "Magdeburg" into the search bar of the site. The map showed the city centre - with curious results!
It got a walkability score of 45 out of 100, when I know for a fact that the walkability of the area shown is over 90. (Give me some credit, I live two streets away and I do not own a car.) What made me laugh out loud though was the listings for grocery store, bars, movie theatres and the like. Totally wrong. The Ramada Inn Hotel is not a grocery store and will never be! They have a ton of listings there which are absolutely incorrect and if you tried to judge the area from the data given on the google map you would be in for quite a surprise.
EDIT: The List of "Bookstores"
Taxi-Auto-Ruf-Zentrale ("Call-a-Taxi") 0.91 Mi
Körner & Partner Business Callcenter 2.46 Mi
Ministerium für Wirtschaft (Ministry of Economics)32.04 Mi
Hotel (!) Domschatz 33.1 Mi
Stadt-Apotheke (Pharmacy "City") 38.13 Mi
Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein (Foundation Cloister Michaelstein - famous touristy site ) 42.92 Mi
None of them are actually a bookstore, though I know of 5 within a 0.25 mile radius.
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 31, 2007, at 4:35 PM by t_maia ]
From the ones I've tried, I think it does a pretty good job for North America. It appears to fall down seriously on any non-North American (i.e. Canada and the USA) destinations.
What a good idea.
I have never owned a car, so have always lived in areas with high walkability. Also ones with good public transport. It would have been nice to have had lists of such areas, in cities I have moved to, to cut down on research time and to maybe give me a longer list of choices for a potential home.