There are plenty of terms thrown around in real estate, but two that are often brought up are the buzzwords “walk score” and “walkability”.
While it’s great to nod your head and politely smile when real estate jargon flies over your head, it’s even better to understand exactly what a real estate agent means when they bring up a walk score.
From the definition to the importance of a high walk score, here’s everything you need to know about real estate’s underrated measurement for accessibility.
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What is a Walk Score?
Walk Score is a term coined by a private company of the same name, Walk Score. The US-based company created a walkability index that will calculate any address in the United States, Canada, and Australia to a numerical value.
A Walk Score essentially determines how “walkable” a street address is, using an algorithm to assess how simple it is to reach necessary amenities by foot, allocating the address to a numerical score out of 100.
Walk Score also showcases the transit score and the bike score of the local neighbourhood. Transit score is determined by the access to public transit, and how far away the closest public transport is to your address. The bike score is pretty self-explanatory, centring around how accessible the area is by bike.
Calculating a Good Walk Score
Determining a good Walk Score is understanding what count’s towards a Walk Score.
The score can range from pedestrian accessibility to traffic activity, and even measures the friendliness of pedestrians (pedestrian friendliness) by calculating the population density and road metrics (painful intersection densities and far block lengths will drop the overall score).
As mentioned earlier, a Walk Score is out of 100, so naturally, the highest score you can achieve is 100/100 (no, there aren’t any 110% scores for this one).
While 100 is essentially a walker’s paradise, anything over 90 is essentially just shy of perfect for lovers of the by foot physical activity. Just below the 90 range, anything with a score between 70-89 is considered ‘very walkable’, showcasing that most errands can be done by foot.
The next category is labelled as ‘somewhat walkable’ and covers the 50-69 scores. Below that is where things are seen to be more car-dependent, meaning any score between 25-49 will require a car for travel most of the time, and 0-24 will require a car all the time.
Is a High Walk Score Important?
In short, a high Walk Score can be viewed as appealing to many property buyers and renters, as a property in a high Walk Score area can look forward to a built environment made to have access to walkable amenities, allowing ease of connectivity to public health benefits.
Walking distances can be a major benefit to selling a property, as plenty of Australians will take full advantage of a quick walk down to the grocery store if it means they don’t have to waste petrol (staying environmentally friendly in the process).
Many cities and suburbs in Australia are leaning towards a more walkable-centred urban planning design, an example being Canvas Brunswick in Victoria. Designs like these continue to crop up and set a new standard that a great walkability score could mean the difference between renters landing in one area compared to the other.
To get your own validation of Walk Score, check out the website here: www.walkscore.com
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