From the Sightline Institute: 

Three Seattle uber-hackers, Jesse Kocher, Matt Lerner, and Mike Mathieu, built this addicting new website. It maps the closest grocery store, restaurant, and several other businesses you might walk to from any address in the United States or Canada. It also gives each location a “Walk Score.” (You can even watch the site tally up the score. It’s awesome!)
Walk Score … calculates the distance to the closest business in each of a list of commonly used categories such as grocery stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. It assigns points based on the distance to these amenities, then averages the score. This simpler strategy works well and generates great maps.

Naturally, first thing, I checked out my score:
83, not bad.  Would have been better if they included the schools closest to me. 
But try for yourself – here.


  1. I think the tool underestimates “walkability” by a long stretch. My residence in Victoria got a 78. Which sounds pretty good, but then consider the businesses and services Google didn’t catch within this ambit: a Safeway, 4 or 5 bakeries, several bookstores, numerous barbers and hairdressers, two pubs, three liquor stores, three drugstores, numerous restaurants, three delis, a butcher, a cobbler…the list goes on. We can literally meet all of our daily needs (even an undertaker, should we need one) within a 15 minute walk of home, which must give a real score approaching 100.

  2. This is really cool.
    1055 Homer gave an impressive score of 98. We’ve been living in the area for 9 years, 7 without a car. Which allowed us to buy and live in the area, converting car payments into home equity.

  3. Unfortunately, there are a lot of items not included on Google Maps so my local schools and theatres (and some other assorted businesses) did not register on the google map and the nearest ones listed were in Blaine!!
    My neighbourhood (near Broadway and Commercial Drive) is actually very walkable, but due to these snags of not having all local businesses and facilities registered, my score came out rather weak at 0.52.

  4. I’ve used it a few times already and I have to say that I am not a fan. For example, I tried my parent’s house in Suburban Queens NY, an area where, surprisingly, few people walk (it’s more of a cultural thing than a necessity). It has a score of 75, which is 4 points away from my place in Kitsilano, where everyone walks.
    Obviously, walkability is a very difficult thing to score. This website is taking a few walkability indicators, such as convenience to shops, but ignores other indicators such as culture.
    So, I’m not convinced there’s much value in it.

  5. My place at 950 Cambie St rates a 95.
    As others have mentioned, I suspect the rating is quite subjective based on which businesses have registered with Google.
    As for the 83 in the West End, that’s nothing a little in-fill redevelopment can’t fix!

  6. Very cool indeed. I scored a 90, but the tool assumes I can swim across False Creek to access a few amenities.
    Anyway, I do live car-free, so I agree with the score.
    I threw in a few addresses of friends who live downtown or on the Drive and everyone scored at least 90 – which is a testament to Vancouver.

  7. I tried it when I saw it a while back on The Daily Score, and, like Mark Hornell in Victoria, feel that it has a way to go before it’s “trustable” & comprehensive enough to be useful. My Victoria neighbourhood’s “walkability” hotspots were downright silly, with the application missing entire swathes of shopping & community resources. That’s not necessarily the app’s fault, of course, but says a lot about how important it is these days that “meatspace” is also virtually marked/credited. If it isn’t, that absence utterly skews the results, which is certainly what happens in Victoria’s case.
    Mark, you work for the City. Any thoughts on whose brief it is to ensure that information is accurately picked up & searchable? Did you see the Civic Info BC release about Nanaimo being the city that’s most comprehensively mapped by Google Earth? (see: )

  8. I don’t think culture can be quantified, this application simply shows things in a different and visual perspective. It has you think about walkability, most people in North America don’t live in these terms.
    Missing businesses are just a sign that your neighbourhood does not have very web savvy business owners. People need to ensure that their commercial existence is noted by google or other search engines.
    I would like to see crime rate overlays, and other items would add interest as well. As friends pointed out in their crime ridden US cities, “I can walk there, but is it safe? Not at all”.
    My place on Beach Crescent rated a 93. I don’t think this site can be measured in value, but rather as a clever yet simple starting point for some discussion.

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