Benchmarking the Walkability of Global Cities

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in Barcelona, Barriers to walking, Canberra, community participation, Copenhagen, demographics, London, streets, Uncategorized, Urbanisation, Walk21, walkability

Martin_Fisch_Walk

We live in a world that is urbanising at an astonishing rate: 100 years ago only 20% of people lived in a city, by 2010 more than half the worlds population was living in an urban area and by 2050 we expect that figure to rise to 70%.  As these mega-cities become increasingly dense and over-populated, the transport systems that support them are struggling to cope with the sheer numbers of people trying to move around.  Many cities around the world are starting to wake up to the fact that they will have to become walkable and bikeable, just in order to function in the future.

How Walkable are the Streets of Toronto?

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in apps, Buying a new home, Canada, community participation, mapping, Open Data, Toronto, walkability, walking

Hello Toronto!  Our street walkability data is now live for the entire city.  Walkonomics is very happy to announce that we have launched in Toronto, Canada. Walkonomics has brought it’s unique way of measuring walkability at street-level to the wonderful city of Toronto.  

New Walkability app for iPhone and iPad

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in Android, apps, Buying a new home, Crowdsourcing, iPad, iPhone, mapping, Open Data, Property search, Uncategorized, urban walkability, walkability

We are excited to announce the launch of the new Walkonomics app for iPhone and iPad.  The free Walkonomics mobile app maps and rates the pedestrian-friendliness of every street in San Francisco, New York and England (over 600,000 streets!). 

Why Walkability Isn’t Just About Proximity To Shops

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in accessibility, Architecture, Carbon emissions, Design, Green spaces, land use, pedestrians, Proximity, sidewalks, streets, Streetscape, urban design, walkability

For many people, the concept of ‘Walkability’ simply means how many shops, cafe’s, schools and other services are within walking distance of a particular location.  While this is a really important part of a walkable neighbourhood (people won’t walk if there is nothing to walk to) there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that several other factors improve or reduce the walkability of a street or neighbourhood.

Now a new book by urban designer Julie Campoli adds to this discussion by exploring several key factors that combine to create truly walkable streets and communities.  In her new book from the Lincoln Institute: Made for Walking: Density and Neighborhood Form, Campoli argues that simply having shops, services and venues within walking distance is not enough.

New Walkability App for Android

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in Android, apps, community participation, Crowdsourcing, iPhone, mapping, mashup, Open Data, pedestrians, Smartphones, streets, Uncategorized, urban walkability, walkability, walking, wayfinding

When it comes to walking in the city, a smartphone is now almost as important as a good pair of shoes.  Our phones provide us with pedestrian sat-nav, reviews of the best places to visit and even measure how many calories we’re burning, while we walk.  In fact recent research suggests that our phones are encouraging us to walk further in the city and explore more places.

Now a new mobile app from Walkonomics provides an essential tool for the walkable lifestyle.  The Walkonomics app enables people to check the walkability of the street they’re standing in, as well as discover new walkable streets in other areas and add their own reviews.  The free app, which is available for Android devices, uses over 600,000 street ratings from Walkonomics.com, covering every street in San Francisco, New York and England.  

Does the Hilliness of San Francisco affect it’s Walkability?

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in apps, California, crime, Crowdsourcing, footways, Hilliness, mapping, mashup, Open Data, pedestrians, San Francisco, sidewalks, Steep Hills, urban walkability, walkability, wayfinding, web tools

San Francisco is famous for its steep hills, in fact they are part of what makes the city so distinctive and unique.  There are over 50 hills within the city and while they provide some great views once you’re at the top, they can also be a real pain to walk up!

How your post-code is as important as your genetic-code for childhood obesity

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in Childrens health, Fast food, land use, Obesity, Physical Activity, San Diego, Seattle, walkability, walking, walking to school

The western world is getting fatter.  It’s hard to ignore the spiralling rates of obesity in developed countries such as the UK and US, where more than one in four of us is now clinically obese.  But perhaps even more alarming is the speed at which our children are becoming dangerously fat.  More than one-third of children in the UK are now either obese or overweight and in the US the rate of childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years.  Being an obese child doesn’t just mean you might get picked on at school, it also significantly increases your likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes and having a stroke when you are older. There is an ongoing discussion among academics as to the exact causes of this very real obesity crisis.  This includes the usual argument of how much nature versus nurture creates childhood obesity.  Now a new study has shown that living in a walkable neighbourhood has an important effect on whether a child is obese or not. 

Improving Street Walkability Reduces Crime

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in behaviour change, community participation, crime, policies, walkability

Every city has at least a few streets where you won’t feel completely safe from crime.  This might be due to several factors, such as the time of day, who you’re with or the reputation of the area.  Research has shown that ‘fear of crime’ affects urban walkability, but now a new project has shown that the reverse may also be true: that improving the walkability of a street can reduce the number of crimes in an area.

Which types of people choose a walkable lifestyle?

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in behaviour change, demographics, London, mapping, Physical Activity, policies, TfL, urban walkability, walkability, walking

There’s been plenty of research into how walkable streets and neighbourhoods get more people walking. However what we’re less sure about is: Who are the people that choose to walk more?

In an attempt to answer this question, Transport for London have released new research with some interesting findings.  By combining a large travel survey with Londoners demographic data, the study attempted to identify which types of people walk more as part of their everyday lifestyle.

Rating walkability by combining Open Data and Crowdsourcing

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in apps, Crowdsourcing, London, mapping, New York, Open Data, streets, urban walkability, walkability, web tools

It’s generally agreed that walkable streets, neighbourhoods and cities are a good thing.  Walkable areas produce a whole range of benefits that include:

  • less obesity and healthier residents;

  • boosting property values and the economy;

  • fewer traffic accidents;

  • reduced CO2 emissions;

  • and maybe even more people walking!

But perhaps a harder question is: How do we know if a street or area is walkable?

Is it just about how many different destinations are within walking distance of any particular spot?  While that’s a really important factor, its obviously not the only one.

Take a tour

Take a tour of a walkable street