Walk Score adds Transit Score

Written by tim


The folks at Front Seat – a Seattle company creating software for civic life – have launched three new extensions to their popular Walk Score website: a public transportation score, a commuting function, and a cost calculator that emphasizes the connections between where you live and what it costs to move between home and work.

The Transit Score is a nice addition to the walkability index: it’s based on the number, type, and frequency of transit service near your home (or business, or whatever address you put into it). Frankly, it seems like the transit component should already be included in the walk score algorithm, but then I suppose we’d be talking about the “General Mobility Score” or the “Getting You From Point A to Point B Score” and the whole concept becomes less focused.

The new commuting function is especially handy. Start with your generic Walk/Transit Score of the place you live, then add in the address of the place you work and voila: you’ve got estimates of how long different types of commutes (walk, bike, drive, ride) take, elevation changes between the two addresses (helpful for bike commuters), and an analysis of how much of your income is devoted to your home and transportation costs.

A holistic view of the cost of your home should include transportation, after all – except for you few telecommuting homesteaders (and boy do I envy you!) – you need to leave your house to get to work, school, the grocery store, the movies, and all the rest. Front Seat is emphasizing this linkage with the commuting report: the farther you live from all of the amenities you need to access, the more time and money you’ll spend on getting there and back again. At some point it hopefully becomes obvious that living in denser, more compact neighborhoods is less expensive on balance than living in sprawling developments far from where you earn a living. Walk Score can now help you figure out what makes financial as well as environmental sense.

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  1. Mark Frey

    Thanks Tim!
    My Walk Score is 82, not too bad. I can’t really tell what my Transit Score is – either 100, or our office has a Walk Score of 100.
    It’s great to see that San Francisco tops the Walk Score rankings, too! (Although I am a bit surprised that we beat New York, what with the hills and all.)
    I also really like the Transit Score heat maps – they remind me a lot of some similar work that I found during my dissertation research.

  2. Results of Global Warming

    This is a really great addition – hopefully it will spur urban planners make developments more pedestrian friendly. As technologies allow people to evaluate any location for walkability, it should put the issue front and center when new buildings and developments are planned. Cheers!

  3. Ron

    Thanks for posting this scoring method. I am wondering if any listeners out there know of other carbon emission calculating models? Tucson is beginning a regional visioning process to design our future. Part of the process involves the use of a GIS format called INDEX which has limited ability to account for GHG emissions, mostly thru vehicle miles traveled. If anyone knows of other models or calculators that could be applied to calculate GHG’s in greater depth, please send on to me. You will be doing a great service. Onward!