Walk Score Places a Value on How Easy It Is to Navigate a Neighborhood (Video)

When looking for a new house or apartment, ever wonder what the commute will be like or how far away the grocery store or coffee shop is?

Seattle-based Walk Score has created an easy way to evaluate how walkable and public-transportation-friendly a neighborhood is on a scale from one to 100.

A 90 and higher is a Walker’s Paradise, meaning that daily errands there do not require a car. On the other end of the spectrum, and for scores under 50, it means there are very few amenities within walking distance and that people are car-dependent. For example, Seattle ranks as a 74.

I caught up with Walk Score’s CEO Josh Herst and co-founder and CTO Matt Lerner in Northwest Seattle to hear the company’s story.

Lerner said the premise behind Walk Score is that the real estate industry is stuck on viewing a house based on the price and the number of bedrooms it offers, but in reality, there are a whole lot of more important factors outside the four walls that should be taken into account.

In a study, Lerner said that every Walk Score point translated into roughly $3,000 in home value — which is why New York and San Francisco have two of the most expensive real estate markets in the country; generally, you can get more for your money the farther you travel out from a city’s core.

Walk Score’s data has spread like wildfire, with more than 15,000 sites paying to have access to its data, including aggregators like Zillow.com and other independent real estate sites. Today, the company is rolling out a study ranking the Top 25 major U.S. cities for transportation. New York is predictably at the top of the rankings, with a score of 81. San Francisco is in second place, with a score of 80, and at the bottom of the list is Raleigh, with a transit score of 23. Seattle is No. 8, with a score of 59.

Here’s Herst and Lerner explaining the importance of their data, and how the Walk Score is affecting where people are choosing to work and live:

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