The Walk Score: What is it?
Sep 28, 2022
Imagine that you are hoping to buy a home — perhaps you don’t have to imagine because you are currently looking to buy a new home — and you’ve begun researching online. Perhaps you are looking in New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Walnut Creek, Livermore, Los Angeles, Boston, or some other mildly to a densely populated area. As you dive deeper and deeper into a vast pool of internet searches, Zillow pages, and Redfin photo carousels, you come across a word: Walk Score. Perhaps you know this word, or you’ve seen this word, or, perhaps, you don’t know this word at all. If you are moving into or near San Francisco for the first time, then you might not have heard this term before. Maybe you wonder to yourself: can you score walking? What is walkability? What on God’s green earth is a Bike Score?
In the home buying and selling processes, there are a million things to factor in, and then some. One thing that is underutilized and yet incredibly useful is the Walk Score. Often, when one is buying a new home, they are unable to become truly familiar with the neighborhood and surrounding area before they move in (sans a prior residency in the same neighborhood). The Walk Score, Transit Score, and Bike Score can be significantly helpful for an individual to understand the accessibility grade of the home in which they are considering living, as well as the nature and reality of the surrounding neighborhood.
So, here is a brief summary and explanation of what the Walk Score is — as well as the Transit Score and Bike Score — and how its methodology is formulated.
To start off, walkability, a term used frequently when talking about Walk Scores, is a significant — if not dominant — factor in what score a city, neighborhood, or address is given. Walkability is essentially the ease of access that an individual would have to necessary amenities and services without needing a car. Through judging walkability, a particular location will be ranked from 1–100 and, thus, given a “Walk Score.”
According to the Walk Score website
, “For each address, Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5-minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30-minute walk.” The amenities included in the Walk Score’s calculations are “dining & drinking, groceries, shopping, errands, parks, schools, and culture & entertainment.”
This ranking is not random and, for city planners and researchers, has been fine-tuned to a scientific level. Using Walk Score, one can gauge necessary developments and projects that might be needed in a particular area.
Similar to Walk Score, Transit Score has to do with access. Specifically, Transit Score measures and rates how well a particular location is served by public transportation. Similar to the Walk Score, Transit Score is gauged on a scale of 1–100, 1 being the absolute lowest score and 100 being the ideal.
According to the Walk Score website
, “Transit Score is based on data released in a standard format by public transit agencies. To calculate a Transit Score, we assign a ‘usefulness’ value to nearby transit routes based on the frequency, type of route (rail, bus, etc.), and distance to the nearest stop on the route. The ‘usefulness’ of all nearby routes is summed and normalized to a score between 0–100.”
The Bike Score determines whether a particular area is optimal for bicycle riding or not. The methodology of Bike Score is similar to Transit and Walk Scores in that it pertains to the available infrastructure in the area. As the Walk Score website
states, “For a given location, a Bike Score is calculated by measuring bike infrastructure (lanes, trails, etc.), hills, destinations and road connectivity, and the number of bike commuters.”
Why you should take these scores into consideration
Walk, Transit, and Bike Scores are very similar. The most important commonality is that its purpose is to help people garner access to all necessary amenities and services that would help improve their quality of life.
From a seller’s perspective, they know about all of the great amenities and walkability of the area; however, much of that is not conveyed well in the marketing of the property. As it is typical to not understand the area unless living there, the Walk, Bike, and Transit Score can be used to help fill the gaps and educate potential buyers.
From a buyer’s perspective, if walkability is important, especially in high-density areas with a lack of parking, such as San Francisco, the ability to walk, take public transportation or bike becomes very valuable. Walk Score, Transit Score, and Bike Score are incredibly useful for a buyer, as they can tell them about a particular area and its culture. This is especially handy if one is buying in an area with which they are not familiar.
When this tool is understood and utilized correctly, it can help someone figure out if a location or neighborhood is the correct fit for them and, in the long run, help in avoiding the purchase of a home that might not fit their lifestyle. It is crucial to not only pick a property that checks all of the boxes but also it is crucial to think about what you’re near and what living there may look like.
On that note, you might be wondering what questions you should be asking when looking at things such as walkability and the like. Check out our list of top questions to ask yourself before purchasing in a new area
to hear more about the things to think about when moving into an unfamiliar neighborhood.
In the same way, Atlasa
Real Estate wants to make sure that its clients are buying the best homes that fit their wants and needs. We go above and beyond, utilizing due diligence, industry experience, and transparent methods to provide a quality experience for all of those with whom we work. If you are buying or selling a home, know that Atlasa
has your back. To get in contact with an Atlasa realtor today, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or check out our website at www.atlasa.com
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