With the growing concern over health and wellness as well as environmental concerns, many home buyers are searching for homes based on a tool called “Walk Score”. Walk Score was the brain child of former Microsoft employees Mike Mathieu and Matt Lerner in 2007. These two brilliant coders went on a quest to help people find the most walkable places to live. Walk Score measures and analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities. Points are awarded based on the distance to these amenities in different categories. Maximum points are awarded for homes based within 5-minute walk to a grocery store than further away. No points are awarded if the amenity is more than a 30 minutes walk on foot. Pedestrian friendliness and population density is also used. This data is pulled from large sites like Google, Open Street Map and Localeze. They also review information by the US Census. The information is assimilated by a patented system and voila; a Walk Score is created. Based out of Seattle Washington, the company had only ten employees when it was bought by the real estate firm Redfin in 2014. The information is shared with partner firms and available to the public through the web site walkscore.com.
Walk Score has a grading system that breaks the Walk Score down into 5 categories. Below is chart that describes the grading system and what to expect in each category:
The company has expanded its offerings to include scoring for bike friendly addresses as well as transit friendly addresses. Companies are beginning to utilize this scoring when deciding where to set up a shop that will allow for a maximum employee pool. In a world filled with technology and information overload, this company has found a way to provide a very crucial piece of information that more and more home buyers are finding extremely useful in deciding where they want to live and raise a family. For more information about Walk Score, visit their web site at walkscore.com.