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What’s your Walk Score?

Some homeowners take great pride in their big backyard or their spacious closets. Some like to talk about their home's "walkability". Walk Scoreis a website developed by urban planning experts that numerically ranks addresses based on how accessible it is by foot to essential stores and services. Scores range from 0 to 100 and yours can be found at walkscore.com.

These scores don't just determine the home's proximity to a grocery store or park. They play a big role when it comes time to selling your home since a high Walk Scorecan boost your property's value and be very inviting for prospective buyers.

Here’s insight into how the Walk Scoremethodology works.

Walk Score establishes neighborhood boundaries using data from the real estate information, calculates the distances from your entered location to amenities in your walkshed via Google Maps, and weighs in population density information.

Distance to Amenities

The Walk Score algorithm analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities in each category, such as restaurants, groceries, schools and parks. Then it awards points based on the distance. Maximum points are awarded for properties within a five-minute walk (or 0.4 km) to amenities, while zero points are given if it takes more than 30 minutes (or 1.6 km).

Pedestrian Friendliness

The methodology also looks at population density and road metrics such as block length and the number of intersections along the route. Currently, the five most pedestrian-friendly cities in Canada are Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Mississauga and Ottawa.

Walk Score Categories

There are five Walk Score categories your house could fall into. Scores between 90 and 100 mean you're living in a "walker's paradise." Scores of 70 to 89 are considered "very walkable," where most errands can be accomplished by foot. Scores of 50 to 69 are "somewhat walkable" and 25 to 49 are deemed "car-dependent." Finally, a score of 0 to 24 means a car is required to carry out all errands.

Note: A few caveats about scoring: Walk Score depends on the available data sources. If it doesn't know about the Starbucks located just across the street from your house, it can't include it in its rankings. Luckily, you have the opportunity to add missing community amenities to Google's Local Search API and in doing so, increase your walk score rank. Walk Score is also blind to some important details — it doesn't include such factors as topography, street design, available public transportation or bodies of water in its rankings. It calculates as the crow flies, which means that if there's a lake between you and the closest coffee shop, Walk Score assumes you're more than happy to swim for your caffeine fix.

 

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