Walk Score uses the Google Maps API to calculate the walkability of an address and help people find walkable places to live. I plugged in several addresses where I used to live, and the reality is about the inverse of what Walk Score reports. In spite of the very low score given by Walk Score (18/100), the tiny farm town of Sidney, IL was probably the most walkable town I've ever lived in. Narrow, tree-shaded streets and slow traffic made getting to the local ice cream stand, eateries, and markets very easy to get to.
My old address Longmont, Colorado rates 16/100. Two supermarkets within walking distance, along with the middle school down the street and the elementary school only a little farther made walking and biking the ideal ways for even children to get around. The nearest bus stop is a little far -- nearly a mile away -- but that's an easily bikable distance. The drawback is hauling snow skis that distance to the bus stop.
My current address in Scotts Valley, California rates the highest, but in reality this town reeks for walking. My daughter's school is literally impossible for children to access by bike -- the street is way too steep. Besides that, the locals all drive way to fast on the twisty, narrow hillside roads that provide access to the school, and there are no sidewalks to get to the school! The complete lack of school transportation in California blindsided me when I chose this community; if I knew this ahead of time, I probably would not have picked this location.
I can see Walk Score as a tool to help people judge the resources that are important to them.
IMPORTANT: Please post comments for this article at the new CYCLELICIOUS 2.0 version of this page.
The data is greatly misleading and materially misleading. According to the website, a store which is 1.6 miles away by sidewalk is only 0.18 mile from my home! The distance is true as the crow flies but not by sidewalk or road!!!! My neighborhood is surrounded by highways and the pedestrian paths have been eliminated.
I believe that walk score is cool, but nowadays more and more people prefer to drive cars. Homes are often located in an area where some establishments are easier to get to by car than on foot. I've recently found a type of service on drivescore which is called Drive Score. It shows a map of what establishments are in your neighborhood and calculates a Drive Score based on the number of places within a convenient driving distance. It doesn’t mean that drive score is better than walk score – they are equal and both necessary in the modern world!