Walkability is a measure of how friendly an area is to walking. Walkability has many health, environmental, and economic benefits. Factors influencing walkability include the presence or absence and quality of footpaths, sidewalks or other pedestrian rights-of-way, traffic and road conditions, land use patterns, building accessibility, and safety, among others. Walkability is an important concept in sustainable urban design. Nowadays, Walkability is more than just a pleasant amenity, the walkability of cities translates directly into increases in home values. Homes located in more walkable neighbourhoods,which with a mic of common daily shopping and social estimations within a short distance, command a price premium over otherwise similar homes in less walkable areas.
How to measure Walkability?
Walk Score rates over 10,000 neighborhoods in almost 3,000 cities across the United States, Canada, and Australia to help people find walkable homes. This is because the company believes that walkable neighborhoods with access to public transit, better commutes, and proximity to people and places are keys to a happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
One way of assessing and measuring walkability is to undertake a walking audit.Walk Score is an algorithmically derived walkability index based on the distance to amenities such as grocery stores, schools, parks, libraries, restaurants, and coffee shops. Amenities within 5 minutes walk, are awarded maximum points, while a decay function assigns additional points for amenities up to 30 minutes away. Scores are normalized from 0 to 100; a 2009 study showed each point to correlate to between $700 and $3,000 increase in property value. The efficacy of the Walk Score index has been demonstrated by studies in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and Transportation Research, among other publications. The creators of Walk Score have also developed Transit Score and Bike Score metrics.
Walk score was bring up by Unite States at the first place. People can go to wwww.walkscore.com website to get the score of their living spot. Now most of Canadian real estate website are providing similar function,such as Realtor、Zillow、Estately, people will get the walk score of the property directly once they click on the detailed information. Its function has surpass google map which offer a clear picture for users about the place they are living or the neighbourhood of the property they are going to purchase.
Walkability App developed by Clean Air Asia allows users to rate the walkability of a street qualitatively through 9 essential parameters. The individual scores are converted to a total out of 100 and each street gets a rating. Higher the rating better the walking environment. The parameters scored ranges from modal conflict to disability infrastructure, to safety perception to availability of crossing points and motorist behaviour among others. With a GPS on the mobile phone, the scores are mapped which allows people to know the most walkable and unwalkable streets. The most unsafe areas are highlighted which will enable vulnerable groups to avoid those areas.
www.walkscore.com launched its new apartment and rental search app for Android phones in 2013, with new Android app people 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.
Walkability in Canada
Walk Score has come out with 2014 rankings for the most walkable cities in each of the three countries it tracks. Here's Canada's list:
1. Vancouver (78)
2. Toronto (71.4)
3. Montreal (70.4)
4. Mississauga (58.6)
5. Ottawa (53.9)
6. Winnipeg (52.9)
7. Edmonton (50.9)
8. Hamilton (50.9)
9. Brampton (48.1)
10. Calgary (47.9)
Toronto’s second-place standing among Canadian cities, is the result of several factors. Walk Score looks at local amenities like grocery stores, health services, libraries, restaurants, and schools, while factoring in population density. Depending upon how pedestrian-accessible all those amenities are, each locale gets a score from 0 to 100. For this particular roundup, Walk Score only looked at cities with populations of 150,000 or more, which might explain why Mississauga came in fourth place.
People in the City of Toronto (including Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough) are significantly more likely to prefer walkable neighbourhoods, rather than car-oriented ones, than people in the more suburban GTA. In Toronto, 74% strongly prefer walkable in principle, vs. only 6% preferring car-oriented, while in the GTA it’s 46%-21%. (People who didn’t have a strong preference are not included).
When asked a series of questions about tradeoffs — accepting smaller houses and lots in exchange for walkability features — around half of Toronto residents still strongly preferred walkability, vs. 7-15% who went for more private space and more need for a car. The GTA numbers varied quite a lot depending on the question, but fluctuated around roughly even numbers.
In Toronto the highest walkability area are: Yonge/Bloor with 100 score; Yonge/Sheppard 97 score; Yonge/Finch 91 score; Toronto Downtown Waterfront 90 score. Therefore when people are planning to invest in real estate or purchase a condo to live in, I have to say, one of the best index to evaluate the investment value of a condo is to take a look at walk score of that area. Walkability it is not only representing “Green life, Health life”, it also guarantee your long-term return on invest.