We've discussed the pedestrian resource Walk Score before, but there's a new company taking a different angle on rating the walkability of communities. While Walk Score rates addresses, Walkonomics rates streets. The UK-based company has only covered locations in England as well as US cities New York and San Francisco so far, but Walkonomics has the ambitious goal to rate every street in the world, according to criteria that go way beyond distance traveled. Using publically available data and user ratings to fill in the gaps, Walkonomics attempts to account for everything from hilliness and crime statistics to how much fun or relaxing it is to walk in any given area. Eight criteria are rated individually and tallied into a street's total score, so if some factors are more important than others to users, the score's breakdown is readily available.
Adam Davies, the company's founder, envisions Walkonomics will eventually offer customized directions based on each user's needs. Unfortunately, as Pando Daily reports, the company has a long way to go before this is possible. If they continue to rely heavily on publicly available data, opening in places like my small Connecticut city seems to be far off. However, if the company can continue to expand and gain more resources, they'd serve as another widely-available source that helps pedestrians, encourages walking, and emphasizes the importance of designing more pedestrian-friendly communities.
That last one's a stretch, to be sure--of course no app alone can engender or even promote changes in urban design. However, the more pedestrians literally take to the (safe to walk) streets, perhaps the more communities will increase their walkability and make structural changes to accommodate. Any technology that can empower pedestrians seems (pardon the obvious pun) a step in the right direction.
If you happen to live in New York City, San Francisco, England, or plan on walking through these places anytime soon and have a smartphone, you may find some use in their iPhone or Android app. According to their website, they've rated over 600,000 streets in these locations.
image: screen capture via Walkonomics website
written by Solar Lights, March 08, 2013
written by Fossil Fuels, March 19, 2013
written by Robert Nelson, April 23, 2013
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