What makes a city walker-friendly?
Well, according to Walk Score, an organization that helps people evaluate walking and transportation options when choosing where to live, factors include everything from ease of running errands without a car and population density to neighborhood block lengths and intersection traffic.
Each year Walk Score uses a patented system that measures the walkability of cities and neighborhoods across the U.S. Their methodology examines walking routes to nearby stores and services in several different categories and awards points based on the distances to each. Then additional influences like traffic, road metrics and block lengths are factored in, too.
The higher a city scores, the more walkable it is. For example a city with a score of 90 to 100 is considered a “Walker’s Paradise” where daily errands likely never require a car. Below that level are scores between 70 to 89, cities where “most errands can be accomplished on foot,” and 50 to 69, cities where “some errands can be accomplished on foot.” Cities that score below 50 are considered car dependent.
The cities that made the top 10 cut on Walk Score’s 2015 list all earned scores of 66 or more, which means they’re not only considered the most pedestrian friendly metropolitan areas in the U.S., but that many of their residents also reap the health benefits of increased daily activity and reduced air pollution.
According to Walk Score's analysis, these are the 10 most walkable cities in the U.S.
#10 Baltimore, Md.
Walk Score: 66.2
Top Neighborhoods: Mount Vernon, Downtown, University of MD at Baltimore
#9 Oakland, Calif.
Walk Score: 69
Top Neighborhoods: Downtown, Koreatown-Northgate, Laney College