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Issue 015

Walk On

April 20, 2009

A look at America's most pedestrian friendly cities

Walking is arguably the most efficient mode of transportation, and you don't need petroleum to power it; some French fries will do. But disturbingly few of us take advantage of our built-in bipedal locomotion function. Are we to blame, or is it our environment?A website called Walk Score aims to answer that question. It ranks U.S. cities based on their "walkability," a proprietary formula that measures population density, pedestrian-friendly design, public space, schools and businesses, and commerce.Its algorithm is, admittedly, imperfect. It doesn't, for example, consider a city's public-transit infrastructure, nor does it account for features of the built environment-like block length, frequency of crosswalks, topography-or natural beauty, which influence walkability. But the site's editors are impressively committed to improving their methodology, and they're even more committed to making walking policy a more important part of the national discussion about transportation by pushing for changes in the 2009 Transportation Bill.Here are the current top 10 most walkable cities in the country, and a graph of their walk-score distribution.A city's Walk Score is the average of the walk scores (from one to 100) of all the neighborhoods in a city. TheĀ  graphs show Walk Score Distribution-the range of scores of the neighborhoods in each city.

Walk Score

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