Most people want to live in walkable neighborhoods. 60% of respondents to a recent National Association of Realtors survey said they favored areas with shopping, recreation and work within walking range. Among millennials, walkability is even more important.
About 30,000 sites now use Walk Score's walkability grading system. The Seattle-based company, led by Josh Herst, has done a lot to encourage people to factor in walkability when deciding where to live.
Walk Score's latest ranking of America's most walkable cities shows the best from last year are still the best today. New York, San Francisco and Boston occupy the first three places, as they did last year. Philadelphia, Miami and Chicago come next. Each is classified as "very walkable," which means "most errands can be accomplished on foot." That's a step down from "walker's paradise" status—but impressive nonetheless.
At the bottom are Nashville, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina. They are all categorized as "Car-Dependent," meaning "most errands require a car." Many of the lowest ranked are in the South, though Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, both in Indiana, are also in the bottom 10. The ranking only includes cities of more than 250,000 people.
Walk Score assesses proximity to neighborhood amenities, crunching data for 10 million addresses and 2 billion walking routes. This year, it added a couple of extra criteria, including "depth of choice" in an area and "pedestrian friendliness."