Thanks to Walk Score, the super handy online tool that measures a neighborhood's walkability, millions of people now know if they live in a Walker's Paradise (with a score of over 90) or an area where it's notably harder to get by without a car (below 70). Today, Walk Score is rolling out Transit Score, measuring how well an address is served by public transit. It was a natural next step for the mission-driven business that promotes walkable communities for environmental, economic and health benefits, says CEO Josh Herst, from Walk Score's Seattle-based headquarters. "We introduced transit information so you can decide where to live and work based on services and amenities, and understand your transit options."
Like Walk Score, which uses an algorithm based on the distance of local amenities and services to calculate a number, Transit Score relies on distance to nearby transit stops but also the connectivity of local transit lines. There are over 40 cities currently served by Transit Score but the availability of information in each city depends on the transit agency, says Herst. You can see which cities do and don't make their data public at City Go Round (and nudge your city if they're not on there). Herst says he hopes to see more cities releasing their information soon. "It's definitely the trend," he says.
In addition to Transit Score, Walk Score also introduced a Commute Report tool today. The Commute Report features a Google Maps-like route planner which shows the commute time differences in walking, biking, driving or transit. Plus—this is key for walkers or bikers—it also shows the elevation gain between two points. And when it pulls up your commute, Walk Score will link to several relevant independent apps that might help you get from A to B. "We want to help our customers optimize their community experience," says Herst.
Walk Score will also release the Public Transit API so developers can easily add Transit Score information to relevant sites. For example, over 4,000 real estate companies already include Walk Scores in home listings, alongside information about schools and other neighborhood amenities.
Walk Score wants to help people make decisions about where to live in a way that can help them maximize their time and money, says Herst, even giving people a way to calculate potential housing and transportation costs when choosing a new home. Last year, Walk Score and CEOs for Cities co-sponsored an important study by Joseph Cortright that showed homes in more walkable neighborhoods were worth $700 to $3,000 more than similar homes in less walkable neighborhoods depending on the market. Walk Score and Transit Score are ushering in a shift towards what residents are looking for in their neighborhoods. See Carol Coletta's post about what this means for the new American dream.
So now that Walk Score is adding transit—and since we know the development team at Walk Score consists of many avid cyclists—the next logical addition would be... Bike Score? "That's an interesting idea," says Herst. He's not saying a word, but we can see it now: Walker's Paradise, Rider's Paradise...Biker's Paradise.