All posts in “walkability”

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The 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Mid-Size Bay Area Cities

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Most people aren’t surprised when they hear that San Francisco is one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. With a walk score of 86, the city of S.F. is chock-full of charming neighborhoods, trendy restaurants and loads of amenities, but, with a median sale price of $1.25 million, it also happens to be the most expensive place to live in the nation. So, Redfin set out to see how neighborhoods in other smaller (and often more affordable) Bay Area cities compare when it comes to walkability.

According to our calculations based on Walk Score data, Berkeley is the winner among Bay Area mid-size cities, when it comes to having the most walkable neighborhoods. Not only did downtown Berkeley nail first place, with the high Walk Score of 96, but it also had two additional neighborhoods land in the top 10. After ordering the list of neighborhoods based on their Walk Score ratings, we had our local Redfin agents chime in with insights on what makes these neighborhoods unique. We’ve also included median sale prices, so you can see how the neighborhoods compare when it comes to affordability, too.

Here are the 10 most walkable neighborhoods in the Bay Area:

1.  Downtown, Berkeley: Walk Score of 96

Median Sale Price: $681K

“Downtown Berkeley is a unique area in that it is a fully functioning downtown with a large university just one block off the main strip. Having the University of California, Berkeley so close to downtown offers many amenities for people there such as the UC Botanical Garden, and the UC Berkeley Art Museum. Shattuck Ave. is the main street and houses many loved restaurants and shops such as the top rated New Orleans inspired Cajun Kitchen and Pegasus Bookstore Downtown. This area is especially unique because of the culture, the access to everything within walking distance and the combination of housing offered; from student housing through the university, to apartments, to traditional single family homes,” said Redfin Agent Tom Hendershot.

2. Downtown, San Rafael: Walk Score of 93

Median Sale Price: $863K

San Rafael is known for being the oldest, largest and most culturally diverse city in Marin County. According to theVisit San Rafael page, the central plaza has become a community gathering place for events such as their Thursday night farmers market. “There are about four blocks wide, and 10 blocks long with all kinds of different amenities in the downtown area. Locals enjoy the Puerto Rican restaurant, Sol Food and going to State Room Bar or the local movie theater for a night out on the town. Downtown San Rafael is centrally located, making it easy for locals to walk to the grocery store, the transit system or anything else they might need,” says Redfin Agent Benjamin Faber.

3. Downtown, San Mateo: Walk Score of 93

Median Sale Price: $974K

“A major perk of this area is that it’s an affordable neighborhood, with great access to the Caltrain station. Transportation is everything here; it is an easy walk to the main station from any point of Downtown San Mateo,” says Redfin Agent Matthew Weller. “People enjoy going to Three Restaurant and Bar for brunch, or dinner and drinks. There are classic old shops that have been here for more than 30 years mixed in with many brand-new places, making it a great place for diverse and unique shopping options. In the midst of change, San Mateo has preserved its old culture and family roots.”

4. Southside, Berkeley: Walk Score of 93

Median Sale Price: $1.02M

“One of the major benefits of Southside Berkeley is the easy access to transportation. There is a BART station centrally located that is close to most houses. This neighborhood has all of the bonuses of being in Berkeley, but still has some affordable options compared to other parts of the city. Southside’s many parks, like Willard Park, make it very enjoyable to walk in on a sunny day. The neighborhood is full of young professionals, and is an up-and-coming place to live,” according to  Redfin Agent Tom Hendershot.

5. Downtown, Burlingame: Walk Score of 90

Median Sale Price: $1.09M

“Burlingame’s main street, Burlingame Ave., offers many options to people looking for shopping, such as J. Crew, Pottery Barn and Lululemon. Plus lots of places to eat like Blue Line Pizza, Peet’s Coffee and more. The area has a rare combination of beautiful large homes, highly ranked schools, a low crime rating and easy walkability to the downtown area,” said Redfin Agent Mia Simon. “The convenience of being able to live in a small city, and walk to a lot of commercial places makes Burlingame a destination for people to live.”

6. North Berkeley, Berkeley: Walk Score of 89

Median Sale Price: $1M

“Northside Berkeley has easy access to The Gourmet Ghetto, which is just along Shattuck Ave. and Vine Street. Here you can find a collection of unique shops, sidewalk cafes, bakeries and popular restaurants like Cheese Board Pizza. The Gourmet Ghetto offers endless options for locals. The convenience factor, classic architecture, parks and highly ranked schools make this a great place to live without having to own a car,” according to Redfin Agent Tom Hendershot.”

7. Staumbaugh-Heller, Redwood City: Walk Score of 89

Median Sale Price: $820K

“Redwood City is known for its great weather, because of its high number of sunny days and for not having the San Francisco fog. The Staumbaugh-Heller neighborhood has recently invested in revitalizing the area and improving the infrastructure. One of the recent changes was to the park, Jarden De Ninos. The park now has a selection of play structures, swings and picnic tables that locals can reserve for parties or events. Just a short walk from the neighborhood is the downtown Redwood City area, where you can find a variety of shops from small antique stores to larger brand-name stores. All the nearby amenities make this a popular place for families,” said Redfin Agent Kalena Masching.

8. Downtown, Concord: Walk Score 89

Median Sale Price: $367K

According to the Downtown Concord website, the city is working to make some changes to the area and make it great place for its residents to live. The Downtown Concord Specific Plan Project is working with long term and short term projects to integrate housing, jobs, retail and transportation into the area to make it a better and thriving downtown.

Redfin Agent Chris Amsden says, “Downtown Concord is in the midst of change, but still retains a lot of history. The homes here have been around for a long time, and show a lot of history because of it. There have been many changes over time and I suspect that we’ll continue to see this neighborhood evolve.”

9.  West Washington, Albany: Walk Score of 88

Median Sale Price: $905K

“This area has a nice price point, potential for great views of the city and highly ranked schools. The transit station is centrally located and is just a short walk from most houses here. West Washington is a very family oriented neighborhood and has great nearby schools, which is a huge draw for this area. Locals can easily walk to a variety of restaurants and grocery stores like Trader Joe’s,” according to Redfin Agent Tom Hendershot.

10. Centennial, Redwood City: Walk Score of 88

Median Sale Price: $950K

“The Redwood City Centennial neighborhood shares the same great weather, and same downtown area as the Staumbaugh-Heller neighborhood. In addition to a plethora of sunny days, locals can access all the downtown amenities within a five minute walk. The Centennial neighborhood itself has a good mix of housing options, from bungalow-style homes to  contemporary condo developments. The neighborhood also has some nearby schools including a high school and a Marin Day school. With the Stanford Medical Campus being in Redwood City and an abundance of government jobs being added to this area, more people are starting to consider Centennial as a possible place to live,” says Redfin Agent Kalena Masching.

Walk Score Methodology: Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities to determine a neighborhood’s Walk Score, which is a number between 0 and 100.  Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30 minute walk. Walk Score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics such as block length and intersection density. For this particular list, Walk Score analyzed the most highly ranked neighborhoods in cities in the Bay Area with populations under 300,000.

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.

ChoiceMaps: A New Way to Measure Neighborhoods

It’s great to see more cities adopting plans with goals around access to neighborhood amenities.  For example, Washington DC’s new sustainability plan has a goal of having 75% of residents within a 5 minute walk of healthy food.  But access is only part of the story, depth of choice matters too.

In the travel industry, we’re seeing innovative companies like Airbnb providing more neighborhood information to help people decide where to stay.  For example, if you love eating, you might want to stay in a neighborhood with a lot of restaurant choices.

Real estate analysts want to track how places are changing over time.  For example, whether a neighborhood is economically vibrant (more businesses are opening) or whether a neighborhood is on the decline (more businesses closing).

We’re excited to announce ChoiceMapsTM, a new way to measure access and choice in neighborhoods.

You can explore live ChoiceMaps for New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Seattle.

Restaurant Choices in New York City

Restaurant Choices in New York City

In New York, the average person can walk to 12 restaurants in 5 minutes (remember New York includes Staten Island).  To perform this analysis, we’re using our new Travel Time API to compute 32,000,000 walking times for 8.2 million people to over 21,000 restaurants.  And we’re doing this in real-time (try moving the time slider on one of the live maps).

Measuring Neighborhood Choice

Let’s look at depth of choice in Midtown Manhattan vs. my home town of Topeka, Kansas.  The average Midtown resident can walk to a staggering 1,251 restaurants in 20 minutes, but in Topeka you can only walk to an average of 7 restaurants in 20 minutes.  Midtown offers 179 times the number of choices!

You can walk to a staggering 1,251 restaurants in Midtown, Manhattan.

In 20 minutes, you can walk to a staggering 1,251 restaurants in Midtown, Manhattan.

Tracking Neighborhoods Trends

Walk Score data subscribers now have access to historical and trend data for cities and neighborhoods.  Cities can use Walk Score to track the percentage of residents who can access various amenities — and how this changes over time.  Real estate analysts can track whether a neighborhood is becoming more or less walkable or how public transit service is increasing or decreasing.

For example, returning to DC’s sustainability plan, here’s a map of people who can walk to fresh food in 5 minutes.  Cities can use this type of historical and trend analysis to track their progress against their goals. Contact us to learn more about ChoiceMaps for your city.

Map of Food Access in Washington DC

Map of Food Access in Washington DC

And a hat tip to all of the planners attending the American Planning Association National Conference in Chicago who are hard at work to create more walkable cities.  Thank you!

National Walking Day and Walk to Work Day

American Heart Association hosts National Walking Day April 3, 2013 to get people moving.

American Heart Association’s National Walking Day April 3, 2013 and National Walk to Work Day April 5, 2013 aim to get people moving.

Walk. Stroll. Gallup. The US Department of Health and Human Services has designated the first Friday of April as National Walk to Work Day. American Heart Association and many other national organizations embrace the cause as well, and the American Heart Association created National Walking Day (first Wednesday each April). We at Walk Score whole-heartedly support these efforts. No surprise. Walking is one of the easiest ways to boost your health and prevent physical and mental illness. It’s free and with spring in the air and winter waning, now is the time to walk more. Suggestions for how to easily participate in National Walking Day or National Walk to Work Day:

  1. Walk to and/or from work.
  2. Walk to a public transit stop that’s a little further than your normal stop.
  3. Walk during lunch. Take a picnic and eat at a park. Vitamin D will drown any sorrows and new scenery will refresh your mind.
  4. Hold a walking meeting instead of conference room gatherings.
  5. Walk with a friend after work.
  6. Stand more often while working. Make any phone calls while standing.

Kudos to the US Department of Health and Human Services for creating such a simple and good day in which everyone of any age and ability can participate. The American Heart Association recommends you “ditch your desk” in April to take a 30-minute walk around your office or office neighborhood. Watch that hot NBA game from your mobile device instead!

See Walk Score’s top 10 health benefits of walking. Walk Score gives more reasons to embrace walkability and drive less and live more.

Photo: American Heart Association

Seniors: Walkability Benefits for an Aging Public

Baby boomers are retiring in droves in an unprecedented American demographic shift. The last Baby Boomer turns 65 in 2030, so we still have two decades of an aging chunk of the public. A growing body of research points to the importance of designing or retrofitting communities for walkability to accommodate senior citizens and allow them to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle upon retirement. Walkable neighborhoods help seniors remain active, healthy, social and free to move around. How?

1. Quality of Life While Aging in Place

Many retirees choose to age in place—to avoid moving and remain in their homes as long as possible. But since baby boomers were the generation that built suburbia, many will want to maintain a quality of life in unwalkable neighborhoods.

Older adults socialize more when living in walkable neighborhoods. According to the EPA, in an age-friendly walkable neighborhood or town, regular social interaction is possible, convenient and more frequent. The American Journal of Public Health published a study published a study that reveals older people living in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods have higher levels of social interaction compared with those residing in car-dependent burbs. Living in walkable neighborhoods means you are more likely to know your neighbors, participate in politics, engage socially and even trust people.

2. Transportation + Mobility to Leave the House

Independence builds self-worth and being able to move around your neighborhood is freeing. “More than 20 percent of Americans age 65 or older do not drive. Of those, more than half — about 3.6 million people — stay home on any given day because they have no transportation, AARP says,” from a Washington Post article. Men outlive their “drive-ability” by 7 years, women by 10 years. Public transit becomes key for allowing seniors to remain independent. “A 2002 study by the National Institute on Aging found that about 600,000 people who are 70 or older stop driving every year and become dependent on other forms of transportation.”

A 2003 Brookings Institution study found that 79% of seniors age 65 and older live in car-dependent suburban and rural communities. But older adults increased their use of public transit by 40% between 2001 and 2009. About 15% of those over age 65 use public transit at least once time per month and more than half of them need specialized transportation, according to Placemaking article.

AARP’s report Advancing Mobility Options states, “One of the keys to economic and health security for adults age 50+ is their continued access to a range of viable mobility options within the community. Lack of such options can have a profound impact on how ‘livable’ communities are and have a negative impact on the quality of life enjoyed by older adults in those communities.” Public transportation boosts mobility of seniors. The Street used Walk Score to determine 10 cities where you can retire without having to use a car—around the country from Seattle to Miami.

3. Control Your Own Schedule

Being able to create your own schedule and meet people to socialize, shop when you want or get out of the house means living a life you want in retirement. The less one has to depend on others, the more freedom you can enjoy. The EPA’s Growing Smarter report highlights, “Having the choice to get to downtown shopping or cultural events on our own terms and schedule, rather than waiting for a friend or an on-call van can ensure independent living for much longer.”

Don’t think you have to worry about this? Imagine one day getting a call from your mom who says, “My doctor doesn’t think I should drive.” Fast forward a couple decades later and imagine your own eyesight gets worse, coordination and reflexes stall and you, too, need to find an alternate to a car. All of us will someday find we should no longer be driving and rely on public transportation. Let’s plan for it now for all ages of people.

4. New Trend – Active Seniors Stay Active Longer / Renewed Sense of Purpose

Don Dillon of Pennsylvania, now age 75, picked up the hobby of disk golf six years ago and slowly integrated himself into the sport. His hobby turned into a life goal as he eventually worked to win a Professional Disc Golfing Association world champion title for his age range. Aside from the active nature of the sport, Dillon found a new challenge in life that kept him going, “…a reason to get up in the morning.” He founded and chairs the association’s senior committee to get more retirees into the sport.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found that only 32.5 percent of Americans over the age of 65 don’t have regular physical activity. That means more seniors than ever desire an active lifestyle and seek opportunities to stay active. Living in a walkable neighborhood gives options for walking right out your front door.

5. Adopt a Walkable, Healthy Lifestyle and Live Longer

People living to 100 years of age are increasing in the US. There were 96,548 centenarians in 2009, up from 38,300 in 1990, according to the Census Bureau. A Swedish study of identical twins separated at birth who grew up apart concluded only about 20 to 30 percent of longevity is determined by genes. Lifestyle is a more dominant ingredient.

Health benefits abound for those who walk, especially for people older than 50. Physical activity may actually add years to your life. Elderly adults who walk are less likely to suffer mental deterioration or dementia, based on a Pittsburgh University study. Walk Score’s Top 10 Health Benefits of Walking are especially valuable to seniors.

6. Urban Planners: Walkable Cities for Seniors = Walkable Cities for All

Cities leading the way in planning for universal walkability for “lifelong communities” and our aging population include New York City, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Portland. Most cities are built for the young and other cities will need to play catch-up. “It’s shocking how far behind we are, especially when you think about this fact – that if you make something age-friendly, that means it is going to be friendly for people of all ages, not just older adults,” said Margaret Neal of Portland State University’s Institute on Aging.

A 2002 survey by AARP Public Policy Institute found that people over age 50 listed lack of walkability part of barriers to walking. “Older adults perceive poor sidewalks, the absence of resting places and dangerous intersections as barriers to walking.” Likewise, a 2007 study in the American Journal of Public Health found areas with higher walkability scores were linked with older residents doing more walking for exercise.

Allen Glicksman, director of research and evaluation at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, says government programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, “largely ignore one big part of the health equation: neighborhood.” A walkable environment benefits seniors, keeping mind and body healthy through their surroundings and neighborhood.

7. Economic Impact of Seniors Living in Walkable Places

Auto insurance. Car payments. Mechanics and maintenance. Gas that guzzles your money. Retirement means living on a fixed income for the vast majority of seniors and car-related expenses take a bigger chunk of retirees’ money than for working adults. A car can end up being a large drain on finances.

Living on a fixed income makes owning an automobile challenging and increases the need for affordable alternatives. AAA reports in “Your Driving Costs 2011” that the average annual cost of owning an automobile and driving between 10,000 and 15,000 miles ranges from $7,600 to $8,700. These estimates were based on an average fuel cost of only $2.88 per gallon. Imagine what those costs are today and how they will spiral. See Transportation for America’s report Aging in Place, Stuck without Options: Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boomer Generation for more information.

Now what? Prepare for life ahead. What to do when grandma, dad, your sibling or yourself want independence after retirement so you can age in a home comfortably? Choose a walkable neighborhood or city using Walk Score. Find the Transit Score or transportation alternatives (car shares, publis bus, train) near any address.

Check out Assisted Living Source’s Top 100 Walkable Communities where assisted living facilities are listed by their Walk Score.

Photo: EPA

Sweethearts: Factor Travel Time into Your Love Life

Valentine’s Day is just as swell a time for couples as it is for those who celebrate their singledom by having anti-Valentine group gatherings. I’ve enjoyed February 14 both ways over the years.

Love in two cappuccino cups. Photo via Jocelyn Milici Ceder.

The past several decades saw a big spike in single households and adults delaying marriage until later in life, which means more people live alone (or with roommates) and date from a distance.

“In 1960, married couples comprised a full 75 percent of total American households. By last year, that number had fallen precipitously to 48 percent, or less than half. The decrease corresponds to a similar rise in non-family households: single people, roommates and unmarried, co-habitating couples.” Source: CBS News

We at Walk Score wonder—what’s the ideal distance to live from your lover? Is there an optimal amount of space to maintain your independence and keep romance alive?

45-Minute Commutes Kill Romance
Research at Sweden’s Umea University shows couples in which one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes are 40% more likely to divorce. Yikes. Keep your commutes to less than 45 minutes, mates. It could make or break your relationship.

Do you agree a 45-minute commute is a breaking point for relationship harmony? What about the time traveled to or from your partner’s place?

Pick a Travel Time to/from Your Partner
Believe it or not, Walk Score has tools to factor travel time into your love life. At least tools to find any apartment, condo or house distance you prefer. Better to reside one or two neighborhoods away from your partner? Or rent within a few blocks to minimize travel time and gain cuddle time?

Search for apartments by travel time. Or find locations in which to live by travel time.

Additional resources for buying a home:

Top 10 Health Benefits of Walking

Sitting is the smoking of our generation, according to a Harvard Business Review article. Walking is the answer. A mountain of research brings this fact to light. Walking is a free, easy, low-impact way to combat adverse health effects of prolonged sitting, and so many other health ills. You don’t have to train for a marathon to combat unhealthy impacts of sitting. Just walk. It’s good for the body and mind.

“Walking is the closest thing to a magic bullet for health,” says Dr. Graham Colditz of Washington University School of Medicine. Put another way by Mayo Clinic obesity expert Dr. James Levine, “You don’t have to join a gym… You just have stop streaming Thursday Night Football, get off the sofa and go for a walk.”

1. Lose Weight by Living in a Walkable Neighborhood
Want a quick and easy way to lose weight? Find a walkable place to live. The average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 6-10 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood. Neighborhoods with poor walkability are barriers to physical activity, while research shows people walk more if living in a walkable neighborhood.

Walkability impacts public health by “…affecting the relative convenience and viability of pedestrian travel and biking for both recreational and utilitarian (trip) purposes, and thus they influence the levels of physical activity,” reads a study from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Offset obesity by walking: A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that people genetically prone to obesity can offset that tendency by walking. A brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the influence of obesity by half.

2. Walk to Combat Cancer
Women who walked 1 to 3 hours per week had risk of death from breast and uterine cancer reduced by 19%. When they walked 3 to 5 hours per week, their risks of the same cancers were reduced by 54%, according to a study by Harvard University.

Men who walk briskly for at least 3 hours a week after being diagnosed with prostate cancer were 57% less likely to see the disease progress.

3. Walk to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center writes, “An analysis of numerous studies on walking and heart disease concluded that the risk for developing heart disease decreases as the amount of walking increases.” Retired men who walk more than 1.5 miles per day had a significantly lower risk for heart disease (compared to men who walk less), according to a New England Journal of Medicine study. Walking at a moderate pace (3 to 4 miles per hour) for up to 3 hours each week (equates to 30 minutes a day) can cut women’s heart disease risk by 40%, according to a Harvard study.

4. Walk to Reduce Blood Pressure
A Korean Institute of Sport Science study proved a decrease in blood pressure in those who followed a walking exercise similar to the recommended 30 minutes per day, five times a week given by the American College of Sports Medicine.

5. Walk to Reduce Diabetes Risk
A New England Journal of Medicine study tied walking with reduced risk of diabetes. The study of more than 3,000 overweight adults found that walking 2.5 hours per week (along with a healthy diet) reduced the risk by 58% of getting diabetes. For overweight adults 60 years and older, the reduced risk was 71%.

6. Walk to Keep Arteries Unclogged
A Journal of the American College of Cardiology study found that exercise before a meal may help stem the effects of high-fat foods on blood vessel function. Walking is good for the heart and its arteries and vessels in many ways, including stemming build-up and clogging of arterial walls. Unclogged vessels and arteries keep blood circulating throughout the body, to organs and limbs.

7. Boost Mental Health by Walking
Many studies prove that exercise can improve mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Depression, a disease that afflicts 9% of the American adult population according to the Centers for Disease Control, is reduced by walking, an activity that replenishes endorphins that influence the feeling of well-being. Physical activity also boosts self-esteem and cognitive function, according to research in the National Institutes of Health.

Want more joy? Cities with good public transit and access to amenities promote happiness.

8. Walking Combats Arthritis and Strengthens Joints
Knee arthritis sufferers were able to increase the distance walked by 18% and gained nearly 40% boost in joint function after finishing an 8-week walking study. They also experienced significantly less pain and needed less medication after walking, based on research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

9. Enjoy a Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnancy doesn’t have to mean your health decreases. Walking just half an hour every day helps pregnant women prevent back pain, swelling, constipation and other pregnancy-related irritations and health conditions, according to research by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

10. Walk for a Healthy Brain
Walking regularly reduces brain atrophy and mental decline, resulting in a 50% reduction in risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia where thinking, memory and behavior deteriorate over time. This according to Rush University Medical Center research.

Seniors, take note: Exercise, including walking, in your 70s may stop brain shrinkage, a sign of aging linked to dementia, according to Edinburgh University research.

Tools that make it easy to live a healthy life:

  1. Move to a more walkable neighborhood.
  2. Discover places and nearby amenities within walking distance.
  3. Find a place to live where you can walk, bike or take public transit to commute or get around.
  4. Advocate for better walkability in your neighborhood.

Live in a walkable neighborhood to boost your health and prevent disease. Walkability matters. We have partnered with many researchers to explore the value of walkability. Find a place to live in a walkable neighborhood on Walk Score.

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.”

Canadian Walker’s Paradise Neighbourhoods

We released a ranking of Canada’s most walkable large cities. Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal ranked top 3 respectively. But depending on the neighbourhood, you can enjoy the health, environmental and community benefits of living in a walkable area.

We scored 1,200 neighbourhoods across Canada—and there are 30 “Walker’s Paradises” with Walk Score above 90.

Type in any Canadian neighborhood or city on Walk Score to find a detailed heat map of its walkability.

  1. Bay Street Corridor—Toronto
  2. Harris Green—Victoria
  3. Church-Yonge Corridor—Toronto
  4. Kensington-Chinatown—Toronto
  5. Downtown—Victoria
  6. University—Toronto
  7. Downtown—Vancouver
  8. Palmerston-Little Italy—Toronto
  9. Mount Pleasant West—Toronto
  10. Chinatown—Calgary
  11. Moss Park—Toronto
  12. West End—Vancouver
  13. Annex—Toronto
  14. Trinity-Bellwoods—Toronto
  15. North St. James Town—Toronto
  16. Strathcona—Vancouver
  17. Downtown Commercial Core—Calgary
  18. Plateau-Mont-Royal—Montréal
  19. Waterfront Communities-The Island—Toronto
  20. Saint-Jean-Baptiste—Québec
  21. Cliff Bungalow—Calgary
  22. Cabbagetown-South St. James Town—Toronto
  23. South Riverdale—Toronto
  24. Roncesvalles—Toronto
  25. North Park—Victoria
  26. Central Business District—Saskatoon
  27. Eau Claire—Calgary
  28. Downtown—Edmonton
  29. Ville-Marie—Montréal
  30. Dufferin Grove—Toronto

10 Highly Walkable Ski Towns in North America

Telluride ski town’s core is a walker’s paradise
with a Walk Score of 100

Skiing is a heavily car-dependent winter activity. But in the spirit of healthy living and driving less, carpool-friendly or shuttle-bus-traveled trips with friends and family to ski resorts is just what urbanites sometimes need. The more you walk, the more in shape you’ll be when your feet are strapped to skis or snowboards careening down the slopes, right?

Ski resorts vary by snow quality, skiable acres, price, après ski life and lift lines. Ski towns also vary by walkability. A concentrated core of boutiques, restaurants and other amenities become lively pedestrian-friendly zones for dining, shopping, entertainment and group gatherings.

The Walk Score in the heart of these 10 ski towns make them winter walker wonderlands. All the better if you stay at a hotel, condo, vacation rental or bed and breakfast near their walkable core.

Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is a walker’s paradise for life before and after your feet are
strapped to skis or snowboards

1. Telluride, Colorado
(Walk Score in heart of Telluride = 100)

2. Whistler, British Columbia
(Walk Score in heart of Whistler = 100)

3. Sun Valley’s Ketchum, Idaho
(Walk Score in heart of Ketchum = 89)

4. Vail, Colorado
(Walk Score in heart of Vail = 85)

5. Aspen, Colorado
(Walk Score in heart of Aspen = 85)

6. Mammoth Lakes, California
(Walk Score in heart of Mammoth Lakes = 85)

7. Banff, Alberta
(Walk Score in heart of Banff = 83)

8. Crested Butte, Colorado (a late entry to the list, but a highly walkable ski town)
(Walk Score in heart of Crested Butte = 83)

9. Whitefish, Montana
(Walk Score in heart of Whitefish = 80)

10. Park City, Utah
(Walk Score in heart of Park City = 78)

What is your favorite shop, restaurant or place to play (aside from the slopes) at these 10 ski resorts (or a ski town not listed)? Share photos via Walk Score’s site or iPhone app.

Note: Crested Butte, Colorado was a late entry to this list, and a very highly walkable ski town like the others on the list.

Photos: Telluride Ski Resort and Mitch Winton