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Walkability ≠ Actual Walking

I think Walkability needs to include a real-world component called "actual walking going on." I grew up in Orange Park (FL) and know that, while it has some potential for walking, very few people actual walk anywhere. Giving OP a 75 is absurd and makes one question the usefulness of this index for anything less than a score of about 85.
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  • This is a subtle and intelligent point you're making about Walk Score -- are we measuring whether people are walking on the ground now -- or whether you would be able to live a car-lite lifestyle if you moved into that neighborhood?

    We're actually measuring the latter -- if you moved into the neighborhood how easy is it to get by without a car?

    Separately, we're making some changes to our algorithm so that it looks at how pedestrian friendly the road network is (e.g. street width, speed, density of intersections) which would pull OP's score down. I agree 85 seems high.

    Hope this helps!
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  • Matt - Very good points.

    As you point out, many factors go into what encourages walking in an environment. It's interesting to look critically at the built environment and how it affects the psychology of how people move about. Viz Kunstler's books *Home from Nowhere* and *The Geography of Nowhere*. Something as simple as cars parked along the street or not can have a really profound psychological effect for pedestrians.

    A mile in one place seems very different from a mile someplace else. Here in DC I walk a mile in my and adjoining neighborhoods (Logan Circle/Dupont/UStreet, etc.) without thinking much about it at all. The way the streets interact with the sidewalks and the buildings creates a stimulating visual environment that never gets old. If I go up to upper Northwest DC (say, Tenleytown/Chevy Chase neighborhoods), where it's much more suburban, walking the same distance seems vaguely dull and long.

    Anyway, I certainly understand how difficult coming up with a useful index must be.

    Cheers.
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m thankful
    I love Kunstler -- even when he's apocalyptic he's hilarious :-)

    Totally agree with the points above -- the challenge for us is what we can measure algorithmically and nationally. If you check out www.walkscore.org you can see we're starting work on how to look at the road network to come up with an approximation of pedestrian friendliness -- it won't be perfect but it will make Walk Score even more useful for people trying to find a walkable place to live.

    Thanks for the great comments and happy holidays!
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  • I’m inspired.
    Yes, Kunstler can sound a little hyperbolic, but I admire his passion and very much like the specific analysis he brings to the subject when he's not proclaiming the end of the world.

    I'll take a look at the discussion you've ref'd. Many thanks, and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Charlie
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  • I just love that you guys are talking about Kunstler. He's over-the-top but admirably so!
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  • I’m concerned
    the fact that walkscore exists is a miracle. there are definitely problems with your site-build, algorithm, whatever, however.

    example...

    i'm planning a relocation a few years away. trying to determine from point A to point B how far the walk is. i put in one place and it gives me the score. i put in the street address of the next, and the system automatically and wrongly directs me to a different city/state. i go back to correct this and "your commute to," will not allow me to change this faux pas. what's up with that?
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