Josh Herst

Josh Herst

Hi, I'm Josh Herst, CEO at Walk Score. I'm passionate about helping people find great places to live, work and play. Reach out to me on Twitter @jherst.

Articles by Josh:

A Look Back and A Look Ahead

We founded Walk Score with the mission of helping people find a walkable place to live. Back in 2007, walkability wasn’t even a real estate buzzword.  Now it’s a mainstream phenomenon. Four in five millennials say they want to live in a place where they have a variety of transportation options to get to jobs, school or daily needs; and three in four say they’ll likely choose to live where they don’t need a car to get around1. We now show more than 20 million Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score ratings every day to home and apartment shoppers across a network of more than 30,000 websites and apps.

Smart Planet (Nov 2013)

Smart Planet (Nov. 2013)

Walkability means being near the people and places you love.  It’s about great neighborhoods and having a variety of transportation choices for getting around your city.  It’s about having a shorter or more enjoyable commute.  At Walk Score we’re passionate about walkability.

To further our mission of helping people find a great house or apartment in a neighborhood they love, we’re excited to announce that Walk Score is becoming part of Redfin, the customer-first real estate brokerage.

Advancing the Walk Score Mission

Redfin and Walk Score share a passion for helping people find a great place to live. At Walk Score, we’ve been helping people find apartments for rent by commute time and proximity to public transit and neighborhood amenities since 2011.  Redfin’s mission is to make buying or selling a home better for consumers through technology and its agents across the country. We’re thrilled to be combining our neighborhood insight with Redfin’s world-class home shopping experience and personal service. Together we will be able to help more people make great decisions about where to live.

We’re also excited about what this means for our ongoing commitment to promoting neighborhood walkability. Starting today we now offer 5,000 daily Walk Score API calls for free, a 50X increase from our previous free quota.  This means our data is easier than ever to add to your site and apps.  We are also going to be able to give more data away to researchers and analysts studying the benefits of walkability.

When people visit the Walk Score office, they’re often surprised that there are only 10 of us.  Here’s what we look like:

The Walk Score Team.  We do it for the children.

The Walk Score Team. We do it for the children.

One of the things that excites us about joining a larger company is having access to more data and to data scientists, analysts, and Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson.   There’s so much more to do with our data to promote walkability and build on the leadership of great researchers like Joe Cortright, Gary Pivo, Chris Leinberger, and our amazing Advisory Board whose work has demonstrated the economic and social power of walkable neighborhoods.

If you have any questions about this news, just Tweet @walkscore or send us a note.

Thank you for your support as we enter the next chapter!

Now Serving Over 20 Million Scores Per Day

That’s almost 14,000 Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score ratings being shown to home and apartment shoppers every minute! Wow.

Every day we hear from renters, home shoppers, property managers, realtors and real estate developers about the growing importance of walkability, short commutes, bike-ability and access to public transit. As such, it’s no surprise to see a growing body of research highlighting walkable neighborhoods as economic engines, talent magnets and valuable real estate investments. And we expect this trend to continue. Four in five millennials say they want to live in places where they have a variety of options to get to jobs, school or daily needs; and three in four say they’ll likely choose to live where they do not need a car to get around.

We’re honored to see the real estate industry continue to embrace Walk Score as the leading measure of neighborhood walkability. For example, earlier this year, Walk Score was added to NAR’s Green MLS Toolkit. And, as a RETS compliant data point, Walk Score is now easier than ever for MLS to add to their systems.

Laura Stukel

“The RESO Data Dictionary evolves in response to home buyer demand. Walk Score is a great addition to the Dictionary because home shoppers are increasingly looking for walkable places to live. Walk Score makes it easy to quickly evaluate whether a house is located near food, shopping, parks, schools and other neighborhood amenities. And since homes save so much energy from location efficiency, Walk Score is a natural choice to include. Data fields like Walk Score also appear in the Green MLS Toolkit, increasing standardization and making it easier for local MLS to add,” said Laura Stukel, REALTOR L.W. Reedy Real Estate and manager of Elevate Energy’s Value for High Performance Homes Campaign.

Transit Score Market Coverage

Transit Score is Now Available for Over 350 Cities

I’m also pleased to share that Patent No.: US 8,738,422 B2 “Systems, Techniques, and Methods For Providing Location Assessments” (aka Walk Score) issued earlier this year. Congratulations to Walk Score founders Matt Lerner, Jesse Kocher and Mike Mathieu. This is great recognition for their industry leadership and insight into the importance of measuring the walkability of every address, neighborhood, zip code and city.

Here’s to helping more people find walkable places to live!

A Look Back at 2013: More Data for More Places

Number of websites using Walk Score

Number of websites using Walk Score

2013 was another exciting year for Walk Score. We expanded our network to over 30,000 real estate sites across which we’re now delivering over 13 million scores per day for addresses throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Source of the quote

Smart Planet (Nov 2013)

As a team, we continue to be committed to helping renters and home buyers find great places to live because we believe walkable neighborhoods with access to public transit, shorter commutes, and proximity to the people and places you love are the key to a happier, healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

More Data for More Markets

In 2013, we advanced the breadth, depth and accuracy of our data that is available for any address in the U.S., Canada and Australia as well as at the the neighborhood, zip code and city level. Key milestones include:

Some neighborhoods improved, some declined.

New Street Smart algorithm

  • 2014 ranking of Most Walkable Cities and Neighborhoods and updated Street Smart algorithm.
  • First Walk Score neighborhood and city rankings in Canada and Australia.
  • Transit Score and Bike Score are now available for any address in hundreds of the largest U.S. cities.
  • New Travel Time API including rush hour drive times and map visualizations for web and mobile apps.
  • New ChoiceMaps that make it easier to understand the difference, for example, between very walkable neighborhoods such as our own Capitol Hill where the average resident can walk to 21 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in 5 minutes and Mid-Town Manhattan where it’s 142!
  • New Neighborhood Crime Reports that provide a more accurate view of crime and safety by weighting crimes by severity and normalizing the data by how many people live and work in a neighborhood.

And I’d be remiss if I forgot to thank the thousands of people who help to keep our data up to date every day and who add photos and descriptions of the neighborhood places they love to help others make smart and informed decisions about where to live.

Independent Validation

Having walkability ratings available for any address across the U.S., Canada and Australia is not only great for real estate, it’s great for research and, in 2013, we’re proud to have once again had the opportunity to partner with leading academic researchers studying the financial and health outcomes associated with walkability. A couple recent examples:

LaSalle Investment Management (August 2013)

LaSalle Investment Management (Aug 2013)

  • Just last month, Fannie Mae published a study by University of Arizona Professor, Gary Pivo, showing that “where Walk Score is 80 or more the relative risk of default is 60% lower than where Walk Score is less than 80.”
  • The August edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine included two peer reviewed articles using Walk Score data. We love this video summarizing one of these studies and showcasing how Walk Score data helps make research more efficient.
  • See more research using Walk Score data.

Kudos!

Finally, it’s always nice to be recognized for your work and contributions. So, thank you to GeekWire for nominating Walk Score for App of the Year, to Inman News for once again recognizing our co-founder Matt Lerner as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate, and to Transportation Choices for naming Walk Score to their Hall of Fame.

Over the past half dozen years we’ve helped to lead the way in educating consumers and the real estate market about the benefits of walkable neighborhoods and, in 2013, we were excited to see demand for walkable places continue to grow and increasing investment from key stakeholders including real estate developers, city governments and the health care community.

Here’s to helping more people find great, walkable places to live in 2014!

2014 Ranking of Most Walkable Cities & Neighborhoods

most walkable us cities and neighborhoods

Just in time for New Year’s resolutions to live healthier and save money, we’re announcing our 2014 ranking of Most Walkable U.S. Cities and Neighborhoods. Read the official press release.

We hope this new ranking helps people find great places to live that offer a breadth of nearby amenities including food, entertainment, shopping, schools, parks, bike lanes and public transit. Being able to walk out your door and leave your car at home more often is great for your wallet, health and quality of life.

Walk Score Ranking of Largest U.S. Cities

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# 1

New York

Walk Score: 87.6
New York

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# 2

San Francisco

Walk Score: 83.9
San Francisco

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# 3

Boston

Walk Score: 79.5
Boston

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# 4

Philadelphia

Walk Score: 76.5
Philadelphia

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# 5

Miami

Walk Score: 75.6
Miami

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# 6

Chicago

Walk Score: 74.8
New York

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# 7

Washington D.C.

Walk Score: 74.1
San Francisco

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# 8

Seattle

Walk Score: 70.8
Seattle

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# 9

Oakland

Walk Score: 68.5
Oakland

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#10

Baltimore

Walk Score: 66.2
Baltimore

 

Based on our Street Smart Walk Score algorithm and analysis of over 10 million addresses and 2 billion walking routes for 2,500 U.S. cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods, the 2014 ranking is our most sophisticated to date. Read our 2014 rankings methodology.

Live Healthier, Happier & Save Money in 2014

“The typical American family spends 1/5th of their income on transportation and countless hours are wasted commuting long distances,” said Jeff Speck author, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time. “Walk Score is leading the way in helping people make smart and informed decisions about where to live. Nothing makes as big of an impact on your health and quality of life as finding a better commute and living in a walkable neighborhood.”

  • Be Healthier: The average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs eight pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.
  • Be Happier: People who live in walkable communities are more socially engaged and trusting than those who live in less walkable areas.
  • Save Money: The average American spends over $9,000 per year on their car making cars the second largest expense for most households, costing more than food, clothing and health care.

While many of the highest ranking cities are prohibitively expensive areas to live, real estate in very walkable places such as Oakland and Baltimore can be very reasonable. Likewise, rentals in Philadelphia are infinitely more affordable than in NYC.

Find Your Neighborhood Today

To help you get started, we created this list of select Walker’s Paradise neighborhoods where you can live healthier, happier and car-free in 2014. In addition to having a Walk Score of over 90 all of these neighborhoods also offer access to excellent public transit with a Transit Score of 70+.

Learn more about our apartment and rental search and download our updated Apartments and Rentals iPhone App to search for places to live by commute time, access to public transit, Walk Score and your “Gotta Have” amenities.

 

Walk Score Network Grows to Over 30,000 Websites

Thank you to the roughly 10,000 websites that added Walk Score to their customer experience over the past 6 months! That’s ~50% growth since April and ~600% growth over the past 3 years.

As a company founded on the belief that walkable neighborhoods with access to public transit, shorter commutes, and proximity to the people and places you love are the key to a happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, we’re thrilled and honored to see Walk Score so broadly adopted by the real estate industry.

Learn how to add Walk Score to your site and mobile apps today!

Number of websites using Walk Score

Number of websites using Walk Score

Helping Agents Sell Homes With Midwest Real Estate Data

Years of experience, innovative products, and the regional power of nearly 40,000 real estate professionals combine to make Chicagoland multiple listing service Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) a force in real estate.

And, as an early adopter of Walk Score data and real estate marketing tools, MRED is helping lead the way toward providing agents and home-shoppers with greater insight into the location of a property, commute times and transportation options.

“Walk Score has fast become the standard for measuring walkability, and the opportunity to provide Walk Score and its other benefits within our MLS system was too good to pass up. We couldn’t be more pleased at the reception Walk Score has received from our brokers, agents and appraisers,” Russ Bergeron, MRED CEO, told Chicago Agent Magazine after launching Walk Score in early 2012.

“We are always on the lookout for information that can be added to our property database to make it even more valuable to our customers and Walk Score is clearly this type of enhancement,” Russ added in a recent interview.

Walk Score on MRED

Walk Score on MRED

MRED’s connectMLS (the top-rated MLS system per the latest WAV Group MLS Technology Survey) includes the Walk Score of every listing (almost 100,000 of them!) and offers agents the ability to search for properties by Walk Score and to sort property search results by Walk Score.

“Not only have we added and made searchable a data field that contains the Walk Score, we also include links to the Walk Score site so our users can take full advantage of all the capabilities of Walk Score – including commute times, public transit information, and nearby points of interest,” Russ continued.

MRED’s Share My Listings widget, which makes it easy for listing agents to post homes for sale to a myriad of social media sites, also incorporates Walk Score. Whenever receiving listing updates from their agents, consumers have a link to the complete set of Walk Score information.

“Having Walk Score incorporated into the listings I send to my clients makes the home search process easier for the buyers,” said Andrea Geller, Broker Associate from Coldwell Banker Residential in Chicago. “They no longer have to go off to a variety of sites to get information about neighborhood amenities surrounding the property. Potential buyers who view listings from MRED’s Share My Listings widget get the same benefit. Walk Score helps me sell my listings faster.

Find out how much you’ll make by selling with Redfin’s home sale proceeds calculator.

Learn more about adding Walk Score data to your site and MLS.

Additional Resources for Buying a Home:

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Walk Score is about helping people find great places to live, work and play.  It’s about what’s outside the four walls of a home or business, being close to the people and places you love, having transportation choices, and living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Introducing A New Neighborhood Experience

Today we’re bringing together all of our quantitative data about transportation and places with tens of thousands of photos and comments into a new neighborhood experience.

Capitol Hill in Seattle on Walk Score

Our new neighborhood pages help people find the neighborhood that suits them best, to understand their transportation options, and to showcase what’s unique and special about a neighborhood — the community gathering spots, green spaces, public art, culture, schools, and the mix of nearby businesses.

Walk Score neighborhoods by the numbers:

  • Walk Score ratings and heatmaps for over 10,000 neighborhoods
  • Restaurant ChoiceMaps for over 10,000 neighborhoods
  • Transit Score ratings and transit maps for over 3,000 neighborhoods
  • Bike Score ratings for over 5,000 neighborhoods
  • Photos of almost 2,000 neighborhoods



Example Neighborhoods: Capitol Hill, Seattle  |  Park Slope, Brooklyn  |  South Loop, Chicago.

In addition, our new, free score badges make it easy for anyone to join the 20,000+ sites that use Walk Score. This also marks the first time that our neighborhood and city-level scores have been available to third-parties for integration into their web sites and mobile apps. Just click the Add score badges to your site link next to any score.

Become a Neighborhood Guide

Nobody knows your neighborhood better than you do. And now we’re making it easier than ever for you to showcase your local expertise by contributing photos and comments about the neighborhoods you know and love via the Web, iPhone and our brand new Android app.

People who add the best photos and comments become Neighborhood Guides. This is an opportunity for real estate professionals and others to build their local brands and to reach Walk Score’s audience of over 1 million monthly visitors deciding where to live.

Become a Walk Score Neighborhood Guide

Learn how to become a Neighborhood Guide on Walk Score.

Walk Score Neighborhood Guide Benefits

 

Portland Tops New Bike Score Ranking

In celebration of a Bike to Work Week and National Bike Month, we’ve updated our ranking of Most Bikeable Large U.S. Cities.

Portland narrowly edges out hilly San Francisco for the top spot, with Denver (home of the legendary B-cycle bike share) coming in a close third.

Bike Score

Top 10 Most Bikeable Large U.S. Cities

1. Portland (Bike Score: 70.3)

2. San Francisco (Bike Score: 70.0)

3. Denver (Bike Score: 69.5)

4. Philadelphia (Bike Score: 68.4)

5. Boston (Bike Score: 67.8)

6. Washington D.C. (Bike Score: 65.3)

7. Seattle (Bike Score: 60.4*)

8. Tucson (Bike Score: 64.1)

9. New York (Bike Score: 62.3)

10. Chicago (Bike Score: 61.5)

Note: to keep our rankings apples-to-apples the list above only includes cities with 500,000 or more residents.

Smaller cities like Cambridge, MA crushed it with a Bike Score of 92 and Davis, Boulder, and Berkeley all scored in the high 80s.  Minneapolis also deserves an honorable mention with a Bike Score of 79.

Bike Score Now Available For 100+ Cities

Bike Score is now available for over 100 U.S. cities.

Type your address into the “Get a Walk Score” field at the top of this page to get your Bike Score.

Across the U.S. bicycle commuting grew 47% between 2000 and 2011. However, in cities that are making investments in bicycle infrastructure and education (which includes all of the Top 10 Bike Score cities listed above), bicycle commuting has grown 80% over the same period. This trend is leading a growing number of multi-family developers to build bike-friendly housing with secure storage spaces for bicycles and even putting repair shops in the buildings. As the current leading city for bikers, Portland real estate is also quite affordable when compared to the second best: San Francisco.

Find Apartments By Bike Commute Time

Search by Bike Time

Find a Bikeable Place to Live

With Walk Score’s unique apartment search by commute time you can find places to live within an easy bike commute to work.  If you’re a biker looking to buy a home try Redfin’s real estate search.

If you’re still not biking, ask yourself if you’d like to be healthier, save money, and save the world.

More Details

 *Updated April 28, 2015: We retroactively corrected Seattle’s 2013 Bike Score from 64.1 to 60.4. This new score reflects a reduced weight given to sharrows when calculating the city’s bikeability, in line with the methodology used for other scores in this ranking. While sharrows help to make space for bicyclists on streets shared with cars, they are less safe than heavier-weighted infrastructure like designated bike lanes and residential bike paths.

bike-team

Bike Score: Built by bikers, for bikers!

Walk Score Now On 20,000+ Real Estate Sites

Walk Score is growing! Earlier this year we launched our first ranking of Canadian cities and neighborhoods and just last week extended our international footprint to Australia.

We’ve also been busy adding to our suite of Walk Score Professional products and services including our Travel Time API and ChoiceMaps, a new way for real estate companies and cities to measure and analyze neighborhoods.

And today, we’re happy to share that Walk Score is now on more than 20,000 real estate sites and that we’re delivering over a quarter billion scores per month. Thank you!

Real-time map of addresses looked up on Walk Score:

Vote for Walk Score

Vote Walk Score for App of the Year

Vote for Walk Score

Finally, we’re honored to have been nominated for GeekWire’s App of the Year.

Please consider taking 30 seconds to vote for Walk Score.

Your vote helps us create a more walkable world!

Walk Score Ranks Australia’s Most Walkable Cities

With a Walk Score of 63, Sydney tops our first ranking of Most Walkable Australian Cities and Suburbs. To arrive at this ranking, we rated the walkablity of more than 100 Australian cities and 3,000 suburbs.  Read the official press release and our ranking methodology.

Walk Score for Sydney Australia

Australia’s 10 Most Walkable Large Cities

Sydney Australia

  1. Sydney (Walk Score: 63)
  2. Melbourne (Walk Score: 57)
  3. Adelaide (Walk Score: 54)
  4. Brisbane (Walk Score: 51)
  5. Perth (Walk Score: 50)
  6. Newcastle (Walk Score: 49)
  7. Wollongong (Walk Score: 48)
  8. Gold Coast (Walk Score: 48)
  9. Central Coast (Walk Score: 41)
  10. Canberra (Walk Score: 40)

Australians can also look up the Walk Score of their individual addresses and find Walk Score ratings on Harcourts.com.au, Homehound.com.au, WestRealEstate.com.au and other leading Australian real estate sites.

“Adding Walk Score to our real estate research products resulted in a significant uplift in our site usage,” said Tom White, CEO of PriceFinder.com.au. “The thirst for relevant and useful local information, from buyers, sellers and agents alike, cannot be overlooked and Walk Score provides this in spades. We especially appreciate the insights Walk Score brings to consumers looking to lower the cost of their transportation by selecting locations that suit their preferred transport options.”

Walkability Boosts Health and Real Estate Value

Walkable neighbourhoods offer a number of health and economic benefits. For example, a 10-year long study of Australians by the University of Melbourne found that walkable neighbourhoods with proximity to shops, parks and public transit improve people’s health and wellbeing. And, over the past decade, home values in Sydney’s walkable neighbourhoods have outperformed the rest of the city and can attract a 20% premium.

Apartment & Rental Search in Australia

Today, we’re also excited to launch our unique apartment and rental search for Australia. Search rental listings in major cities across the country by Walk Score and commute time and mode preference (foot, bike, transit, car) on the web and with our updated iPhone app.

Australian Real Estate Opportunity

Australian real estate professionals can now use Walk Score to their advantage. Showcase your properties and market yourself as a local expert. Boost your home listings with neighbourhood information including nearby amenities and commute times.

Learn more about Walk Score for real estate professionals.