We all know that life is grand when you can embrace the benefits of a pedestrian lifestyle in an urban locale.
You’ve likely heard of a Walk Score, Bike Score or Transit Score, but do you really know what is being measured? Do you know how this data is collected and synthesized? Here is a breakdown of these metrics.
What is Walk Score?
Walk Score is group of researchers that includes an advisory board of expert urban planners. For their important work, they have received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They offer a number of different data products, including walk score, transit score and biker score. They use a patented method of calculating how walkable or pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods are, based on the ability to walk, bike or take public transit.
This information isn’t just useful to prospective home buyers hoping to find a location that lets them live their best pedestrian life. The data is generated to help professional groups like urban planners, realtors and scientists.
These data products were created to promote pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods, based on the belief that having the choice to walk, bike or take public transit is good for communities, residents and for the planet. According to the folks at Walk Score, residents that live in a walkable neighbourhood tend to weigh 6-10 pounds less than those that don’t. Shorter commutes mean less stress and the chance to engage more actively with your community. Try our post, What Are The Real Financial, Emotional And Health Costs Of Commuting?.
Walk, Transit, and Bike scores are available for any address in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. They can also be generated for larger geographic areas, like postal codes.
Toronto Tops Transit and Walk Lists
Guess what? Toronto ranks the second most walkable city in Canada, with the Bay Street Corridor, Church-Yonge Corridor and Kensington-Chinatown areas offering the most accessibility on foot. And while Toronto is ranked as #1 in Canada for Transit, the city ranks much lower on a national scale for Biking. This probably due, in part, to Toronto’s size and inherrant infrastructure. That said, there are most certainly a number of bike-friendly pockets throughout the city. Click here to read my post On Cycling In The City: Then And Now or Cycling The West Toronto Railpath.
How Scores are Calculated
The walk score of a given address (or geographical area) is scored out of 100, based on a number of factors like analyzing multiple walking routes to amenities. Points are awarded on how long it takes to reach amenities on foot. Amenities located within a 5-minute walk are given maximum points, with points subtracted depending on the distance to amenities. For anything beyond a 30 minute walk, no points are awarded. Walk score also takes into account population density, sizes of blocks and intersection density.
Once a score is calculated, it is assigned one of these categories with these criteria:
- 90–100 Walker’s Paradise
- Daily errands do not require a car.
- 70–89 Very Walkable
- Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
- 50–69 Somewhat Walkable
- Some amenities within walking distance.
- 25–49 Car-Dependent
- A few amenities within walking distance.
- 0–24 Car-Dependent
- Almost all errands require a car
The Transit Score determines how well a location is serviced by public transit. Transit routes are awarded a “usefulness” score which takes into account things like route, frequency and distance between stops. This criterion is combined for nearby routes and then given a score out of 100.
The score than falls into one of these categories:
- 90–100 Rider’s Paradise
- World-class public transportation.
- 70–89 Excellent Transit
- Transit is convenient for most trips.
- 50–69 Good Transit
- Many nearby public transportation options.
- 25–49 Some Transit
- A few nearby public transportation options.
- 0–24 Minimal Transit
- It is possible to get on a bus.
Similarly, the Bike Score is based on a score out of 100. There are four equally weighted components to the calculation of the score, including: bike lanes, hills, destination and road connectivity and the number of bike commuters.
- 90–100 Biker’s Paradise
- Daily errands can be accomplished on a bike.
- 70–89 Very Bikeable
- Biking is convenient for most trips.
- 50–69 Bikeable
- Some bike infrastructure.
- 0–49 Somewhat Bikeable
- Minimal bike infrastructure.
Having this data, plus categorizing the results, gives residents concrete details to help determine what locations best match their needs for walkablilty.
Read more about Walk Score and their methodology. Also, here’s a neat set of findings by Public Health Ontario, about the intersections between Walk Score and physical fitness, maladies, population density, and more!
If you haven’t already, consider having excellent walk, bike or transit scores high on your wish list with your house hunt. Being able to access essentials and amenities within minutes is just one more reason why urbanites love living in the city centre, chock-full of hip restaurants, bars, and coffee houses to discover, not to mention a some of the finest shops, boutiques, galleries, and fitness studios!
We heart Toronto!
In our hectic urban lives, what we covet the most is time. The more convenient our day-to-day is, the more opportunities we have to be present – and savour the gift of living in the moment surrounded by the people we love.
This is one of the priceless value-added benefits of living in The Junction’s St. Clair West Village Enclave! Developed by Tribute Homes in 2001, this lovely collection of 352 freehold dwellings encapsulates the concept of New Urbanism, an urban design movement that began in the 1980s that promotes environmentally friendly habits by creating walkable neighbourhoods in proximity to public transit, shopping, and green space. Basically, it’s like replicating all the qualities we love about our century-old cityscape but also having the benefit of living in a newer dwelling designed for contemporary life.
It’s no wonder this address has outstanding connected address has Walk, Transit, and Bike Scores of 81, 78 and 82, respectively!!
Welcome to our brand new listing at 2148 St. Clair Avenue West! We call it: Sizzle & Spice In The Junction’s St. Clair West Village Enclave
This semi-detached, 2-storey, 3+1bed dwelling with a finished lower level offers just under 1800 square feet of intelligently designed family-functional living space, in addition to a sunny, fully-fenced low-maintenance garden! Boasting a host of upgrades and improvements, and inclusive of parking (lane + 1-car detached garage!), this hot commodity is offered for sale at $999,999! See it to believe it! –>
Could this gorgeous property be your next investment in financial security? Interested in booking a private viewing? Because it would be our pleasure to show you!
Contact James Ormston (email@example.com) or Steven Fudge (firstname.lastname@example.org), ok?
Want to have someone on your side?
Since 1989, I’ve steered my career through a real estate market crash and burn; survived a slow painful cross-country recession; completed an M.E.S. graduate degree from York University called ‘Planning Housing Environments’; executed the concept, sales & marketing of multiple new condo and vintage loft conversions; and guided hundreds of clients through the purchase and sale of hundreds of freehold and condominium dwellings across the original City of Toronto. From a gritty port industrial city into a glittering post-industrial global centre, I’ve navigated the ebbs and flows of a property market as a consistent Top Producer. And I remain as passionate about it today as when I started.
Consider contacting me at 416-845-9905 or email me at Steve@urbaneer.com. It would be my pleasure to assist you, and yours.
Serving first-time Buyers, upsizers and downsizers, and people building their long-term property portfolios, our mandate is to help clients choose the property which will realize the highest future return on their investment while ensuring the property best serves their practical needs and their dream of “Home” during their ownership.
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Thanks for reading!
-The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-800
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