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Walk Score Blog: Archive for the ‘ Apartments & Rentals ’ Category

Happiness is a Short Commute

It’s true! In fact, one study found that a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office. And, the inverse it true too. A Swedish study found that people who endure more than a 45-minute commute are 40% more likely to divorce.

Similarly, during a 5-year study of the happiest places on Earth, National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner found that “the top two things we hate the most on a day-to-day basis is, No. 1: housework and No. 2: the daily commute in our cars… It’s an easy way for us to get happier. Move closer to your place of work.”

Find Your Better Commute Today

A better commute might be a shorter drive, taking public transit so you can read a book, or being able to walk or bike to work for exercise.  Sometimes my biking commute is the best part of my day!

Get started finding your better commute and make more room for the rest of your life. Our Android and iPhone apps make it easy.

Best Canadian Cities for Public Transit

Following on our ranking of the best U.S. cities for public transit earlier this year, today we’re announcing our first ranking of the best Canadian cities for public transit.

We’ve calculated the Transit Score of 38 Canadian cities and almost 1,000 neighborhoods to help you find an apartment for rent or home for sale with a better commute and more transportation choices.

In comparison to the United States, Toronto and Montreal score better than any large U.S. city except New York and San Francisco. And Vancouver, with a Transit Score of 74, trounces nearby Seattle (our home town), with a Transit Score of 57.

The Best Large Canadian Cities for Public Transit


Here is our Transit Score ranking of Canadian cities with more than 500,000 residents:

Rank City Transit Score
1 Toronto 78
2 Montréal 77
3 Vancouver 74
4 Winnipeg 51
5 Ottawa 49
6 Brampton 48
7 Québec 46
8 Edmonton 44
9 Calgary 43
10 Hamilton 42

Click on the cities in the list above to explore the best neighborhoods for public transit.

Transit Score Ranking Methodology

The rankings are based on our Transit Score algorithm, which measures how well a location is served by public transit. Addresses with a Transit Score of 90-100 are considered a “Rider’s Paradise.” Places with a score of 70–89 have Excellent Transit. Scores of 50–69 indicate places with Good Transit and ratings of 49 or lower indicate areas with Some or Minimal Transit options. Read the Transit Score methodology.

Find Apartments Near Public Transit

There’s growing evidence that living near good public transportation is a smart decision. For example, living near public transit can save you money. Transportation is the 2nd largest household expense in Canada. Taking public transit is cheaper than owning a car. And living near good public transit might just make you happier — after all, nobody likes being stuck in traffic.

Walk Score Apartment Search helps you find apartments near public transit.  For example, here’s a map of rentals within a 30 minute public transit commute of Downtown Vancouver.

Apartments within a 30 minute public transit commute of Vancouver.

Apartments within a 30 minute public transit commute of Downtown Vancouver.

Take Walk Score on the Go

Our award-winning Walk Score iPhone and Android apps let you take Walk Score on the go in Canada.  You can use our apps to get the Walk Score of any location and find apartments and rentals.



Compare Commutes for Homes and Apartments

Commuting is expensive and nobody likes to be stuck in traffic.  Most of us want to live close to the people and places we love.

So today we’re launching a feature that lets you compare commute and travel times for any property.  Let’s say you’re looking for an apartment where you can drive to school and your roommate can take public transit downtown. Just add those commutes to your Favorites and you’ll see something like this:

Compare Commute Times

Or let’s say you’re looking at homes for sale on any of the 30,000 real estate sites that use Walk Score.  You can click on the score to visit Walk Score and start comparing the homes you’re considering.

To get started comparing commutes, just click the Favorites link at the top of this page.  You can compare travel times with and without rush hour traffic, by public transit, walking and biking.


How much does your commute matter? Here are some of our favorite commuting facts:

  • Commuting by car is expensive. Be sure to consider the cost of your car, gas and parking when deciding where to live. The average American spends over $9,000 per year on their car. That’s the second largest expense for most households — and a lot of coin!
  • U.S. commuters waste over 4 billion hours per year in traffic. Commuting 10 extra minutes per day adds up to a full day over the course of a year! Imagine spending that time with your friends and family, working on your favorite hobby or volunteering in your community instead.
  • There’s even evidence that short commutes make you happier.

How do you calculate travel times?  Good question!  Our rush hour drive times give you an accurate picture of travel times during peak commute hours.  Rush hour drive times are based on average traffic in your city.  The rush hour times we show give you a 90% probability of arriving on time.  In other words, there’s a 10% chance you’ll have a longer commute due to an accident, snow storm, Super Bowl parade, etc.

We’ve also collected transit data from over 300 transit agencies to calculate public transit times and we use road network data from Open Street Map to compute walk and bike times.  Read more about our Travel Time API.

We look forward to helping you find a better commute!

New Ranking of Best U.S. Cities for Public Transit

Today we’re announcing a new ranking of the best cities in the United States for public transit.

We’ve calculated the Transit Score for 316 cities and almost 7,000 neighborhoods to help home shoppers and apartment hunters find places to live with better commutes and more transportation choices.

Where Can You Live Car-Free?

Here are the best U.S. cities for public transportation.

Rank City Transit Score
1 New York 81
2 San Francisco 80
3 Boston 75
4 Washington D.C. 70
5 Philadelphia 67

New Public Transit Ranking by Region

How does your city compare to other cities in your region?  See the full list of cities.

Regional Transit Score Ranking

The older Northeast cities with established subway systems have the highest scores.  West Coast cities that have made more recent investments in light rail also score well.  Although cities in the south have a low average Transit Score of 38, there are many neighborhoods with high scores such as Downtown Houston or the Brickell Neighborhood in Miami.

Living Near Public Transit

There’s growing evidence that buying a house or renting an apartment near public transit is a smart idea.

  • First, it’s likely a better investment.  The National Association of Realtors found that home values performed 42% better when they were located near public transit1.  In Boston, a recent study showed that home prices near public transit outperformed the region by 129%2.
  • Living near public transit saves you money. The average American spends $9,859 per year on their car3. Did you know this is the equivalent of a $135,000 mortgage?!  Transportation is the second largest expense for American households4.
  • And living near good public transit might just make you happier5 — after all, nobody likes being stuck in traffic.

Walk Score helps you find apartments near public transit with our unique search by commute time features.  Download our iPhone app or Android app to find a place to live with a better commute.


Transit Score Ranking Methodology

Our ranking is based on the average resident’s access to public transit in a city.  To compute our ranking, we calculated the Transit Score of over 1.9  million locations in 316 cities.  We use a population-weighted methodology to compute the average Transit Score for a city.  Our top 10 cities list includes cities with populations over 500,000 people.  Read more about Walk Score methodology.

New Apartment Search App for Android

New Walk Score Rentals App

We’re excited to launch our new apartment and rental search app for Android phones and tablets today!

With our new Android app you can search for apartments and rentals on the go and see the Walk Score of any address.

Of course, the app also provides great neighborhood information including maps of nearby places and photos of thousands of neighborhoods.


  • Find apartments and rentals
  • Instantly get the Walk Score of any location
  • View nearby public transit and other amenities
  • Photos of parks, restaurants, shops, and more
  • See the freshest rental listings from top sites

Download the Walk Score Android app.

Walk Score helps you find a place you love where you can drive less and live more.

Walk Score for Android

Walk Score for iPhone

If you’re an iPhone user, check out our app which is currently featured in the iTunes Home Sweet Home section.

Walk Score featured in iTunes store.



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


Walk Score: 79.5

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# 4


Walk Score: 76.5

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# 5


Walk Score: 75.6

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# 6


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


Walk Score: 70.8

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# 9


Walk Score: 68.5

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Walk Score: 66.2


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.

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 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.

Walk Score Ranks Canada’s Most Walkable Cities

Vancouver, with a Walk Score of 78, topped Canada’s most walkable cities in our first ranking of Most Walkable Canadian Cities and Neighbourhoods. We rated the walkability of more than 300 Canadian cities and 1,200 neighbourhoods. (This means Vancouver is the Pacific Northwest’s most walkable large city, outranking our own Seattle by four points). Apartment search and Transit Score are also now available in most major Canadian cities. Read the official press release.

Canada’s Top 10 Most Walkable Large Cities

  1. Vancouver (Walk Score = 78)
  2. Toronto (Walk Score = 71)
  3. Montreal (Walk Score = 70)
  4. Mississauga (Walk Score = 59)
  5. Ottawa (Walk Score = 54)
  6. Winnipeg (Walk Score = 53)
  7. Edmonton (Walk Score = 51)
  8. Hamilton (Walk Score = 51)
  9. Brampton (Walk Score = 48)
  10. Calgary (Walk Score = 48)

You can now also find Walk Score ratings on Realtor.ca, RoyalLePage.ca, Centris.ca and other leading Canadian real estate sites.

“Buyers are factoring in what’s nearby in their search for properties,” said Marc Lafrance, The Canadian Real Estate Association’s director of product management. “Adding Walk Score to Realtor.ca provides home buyers with valuable insight into the location of a property and has been well received by our users. Walk Score’s new Canadian city and neighbourhood rankings are a great new resource for people deciding where to live.”

Walkable neighbourhoods offer numerous benefits:

  • A recent Toronto Public Health study found overwhelming consumer preference for walkable neighbourhoods with a range of shops and services within walking distance, a short commute to work or school, and easy access to public transit.  The study further found that people living in walkable neighbourhoods have lower body weights and that walkable neighbourhoods contribute to better air quality and traffic reduction.
  • People who live in walkable areas are 2.4 times more likely to get the required daily amount of physical activity (Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids: Report of the Standing Committee on Health, 39th Parliament, 1st session, Government of Canada).
  • One point of Walk Score adds up to US$3,000 to home values according to independent research conducted by CEOs for Cities.

While the official ranking covers Canadian’s ten largest cities, here are a couple of Canadian notables:

  • Of the 1,200 we scored, 30 neighbourhoods are “Walker’s Paradises” with a Walk Score of 90 or higher.
  • Toronto has more “Walker’s Paradise” neighbourhoods (17) than Vancouver (3).
  • Victoria, highly walkable with a Walk Score of 78, is too small (population under 100,000) to make the ranking, but otherwise would have rivaled Vancouver. And Westmount, a small city on the Island of Montreal (with a population of approximately 20,000) takes home the top Walk Score with a 79.

Canadian Real Estate Opportunity

Canadian real estate agents can now use Walk Score to their advantage. Showcase properties and market yourself as a local expert. Boost your home listings with neighborhood information including nearby amenities, transit access and commute times. All things buyers want. Stimulate new business opportunities by marketing neighborhood value and amenities to buyers. Learn more about Walk Score for real estate professionals.

Apartment Search in Canada

We also launched apartment search via the web and our iPhone app in Canada today. Search rental listings in major cities across the country by Walk Score, commute time and mode preference (foot, bike, transit, car), and proximity to public transportation. Search for apartments and rentals now.

Local Insight

Two native Canadian coders who work at Walk Score helped calculate their homeland’s ranking.

Kenshi Kawaguchi, one of our score-maestro engineers from Calgary talks about his home town, “Calgary isn’t really that walkable. In fact, they made a mockumentary about suburban sprawl in Calgary. There are some walkable neighbourhoods, like Kensington, and I think there is definitely a shift towards walkability with some recent neighbourhood redevelopments and a more socially conscious mayor.” Video: New development in Calgary’s East Village neighbourhood.

Walk Score computer systems analyst Tony Targonski, from Toronto, has another angle on Canada’s 2nd most walkable city. “Toronto’s outer edges have much to gain from improving walkability. Growing up in a 47 (Walk Score) house felt very restrained and I found myself naturally gravitating towards areas that have scores in the 90s. The moment one gets close to a subway station, establishments in every category suddenly become accessible. It’s very liberating.”

Top 10 Tips to Make a Rental a Home

1. Good Landlord or Rental Manager
One of the most important qualities of a good (rental) home is the landlord. Does he scramble to come fix your leaking dishwasher the next day or wait a week because he’s so busy? Is he hiding any fees or facts from you and other tenants? Vet your landlord or apartment manager. Ask them how long they’ve been in business. More experienced ones will likely provide better management and have better tenant relations.

I once signed a year-long lease and two days after moving in watched scaffolding go up around the whole building—a year-long construction project. My roommate and I negotiated our rent down significantly after that day. Kelley, a Seattle-area college student says, “My housemates and I just learned that we share our utilities bill with our neighbor unit which is why our bills never made sense when we calculated it out ourselves.”

2. Walkable Location, Location, Location
Being close to amenities like school, shops, cafes can expand your sense of home. Pick an area populated with places that tailor to your needs, tastes, style. Living in highly walkable areas is better for your pocketbook, health and the environment. Chances are you’ll meet new people who also hang out in local hubs, expanding your social circle. If you live alone, this can give you a sense of community. Find the Walk Score of any address. Search for apartments & rentals.

3. Soundproofing
Do you have neighbors that like to listen to Justin Bieber and other questionable “artists?” Exercise your right to listen to sounds of your choosing by renting a place with proper soundproofing. Nothing disturbs a sense of home sanctuary like music or noise that doesn’t jive with your mood or taste.

4. Distance from Busy, Loud Streets
A walkable area doesn’t need to be loud. If you cannot sleep or get any work done because your apartment is smack in the middle of a loud intersection, then maybe it is not the right place for you to live (even with adequate soundproofing). Visit the rental unit during the day and again in the evening and stand still with windows both open, then closed. You’ll get a roughly 24-hour sense of sound day and night before you commit to a lease.

5. Neighborhood Safety
A good apartment can ruin itself if it’s placed in a bad neighborhood. No one wants to stress about the chance of break-ins or being mugged when coming home late. Make sure you’re aware of any crime in the area before you decide to move in. Call the local police department to get crime rates or talk to a few surrounding neighbors. Buyers do this as part of routine due diligence before they buy a house. Renters should do the same.

6. Ability to Customize Space
Some landlords will charge a fee if you decide to paint the walls or drill holes for shelving in your apartment. Make sure you’re aware of this before you decide your living room couch looks nicer in a yellowish hue than boring white walls. You may be able to negotiate making select changes with your landlord. Perhaps prove you are a reliable renter for a few months before asking to change curtains, paint, etc.

7. Pet & Pest Control
Can you keep a pet? It’s definitely a plus if you’re allowed to live with your best furry friend. Don’t lie. Pet-friendly apartments and rentals exist. You just need to spend a little more time to find the right place. On the flip side—don’t by shy to ask the apartment manager about past and recent bug infestations that have occurred in the complex before you move in. Even if things look in the clear, it’s best to avoid infestations at all costs, so set up traps in case any bugs try to move into your furniture.

8. Neighbors
Good neighbors who are good people is an important factor for a good home. Ones who are clean, somewhat quiet and friendly enough to loan you a cup of sugar are likely to help you out if you get locked out, need to use a phone, etc.

9. Your Facility
Does your apartment have a gym? Pool? Laundry room? Bike rack? Extras that come with your complex are something to be aware of as you decide where you want to live. Shop around to find the best facility amenities for your lifestyle.

10. Parking
Are you given a spot to park your car? If so, are you charged for it? Having a secured parking spot at your place reduces stress in finding or paying for a parking spot. However, some landlords will charge you a hefty quarterly fee for it, so investigate before finding your perfect apartment.

Search for apartments and rental units by Walk Score.

New Walk Score iPhone App Unveiled

Redesigned Walk Score iPhone App

Get a Walk Score or Find Rentals on the go! We’ve completely redesigned our app to bring the coolest features of Walk Score to the iPhone. Download the app and try it out, it’s free!

Looking for a lifestyle upgrade? Do you want to drive less and live more? Do you want to find a more vibrant and walkable place to live?

Everything You Need to Find a Place You Love

  • Instantly get the Walk Score for any location
  • See nearby restaurants, coffee shops, parks, and more
  • Find apartments and rentals by commute time
  • See fresh listings from top rental sites
  • Search for apartments near public transit
  • Customize your search: price, beds, pets, etc.
  • Save a list of favorite rentals to visit
  • Contact landlords on the go

Rental Searching is Fun?!

Our map nerds went wild building out the search by commute and search near transit features. We hope the map nerd in you will have as much fun as we do drawing “transit sheds” (the commute time search radius) while you’re hunting for the perfect pad. And, if you do, please take a moment to review the app in the iTunes store and help us spread the word. Thanks! We look forward to your feedback.