Imagine being able to walk a block or two and grocery shop, run to the cleaners, or pick up lunch. In some neighborhoods, this is doable. But in most, this is not. Instead, these errands require jumping in a car and driving a few miles.
Yet, selecting a more walkable or bikeable neighborhood can reduce the cost of driving, owning a car, and future health care expenses as well. Obviously, not everyone can pick up and move, but if you’re thinking of moving or see a move in your future, doing some research on neighborhoods is a good first step and Walk Score is a good place to start.
Walk Score gives a city a score between 0 – 100 based on how walkable it is by using their own methodology using pedestrian design, a common center, mixed use space, and complete streets; the higher the score, the more walkable the city. The benefits of walking to most of your errands include saving money on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, and possibly reduced future medical bills.
If you can’t walk to one of your errands, you just might be able to bike to them. Walk Score recently released their Beta version of Bike Score. Using bike infrastructure, road connectivity, topography, and bike commuter data, Bike Score ranks a handful of cities similar to their Walk Score method.
Again, the cost of owning a bike is a fraction of the cost of owning a car or multiple cars. Riding a bike is also a healthier mode of transportation than driving. In some cities, you might even be able to sell your car altogether.
Not everyone can live in an urban area, but knowing there are cities that are more walkable than others can help narrow down a neighborhood.
Take for instance these two Sacramento neighborhoods – though they are within a few miles of each other with similar demographics, one is much more walkable than the other.
Rental prices in the walkable neighborhood are comparable to the neighborhood that is primarily car-dependent. Though Walk Score claims that one point of Walk Score is worth $3,000 of home value which means property prices would increase in more walkable areas.
Living in a walkable / bikeable neighborhood reduces the cost of car maintenance, health care costs, and the wear and tear on the environment.
How does your neighborhood stack up?