Walkonomics Sets Out to Create a New Way to Measure Walkability

Looks like Walk Score has some competition in the business of rating walkability.

A new app from Walkonomics seeks to rate streets for walking according to their physical characteristics. Image: Walkonomics

The U.K.-based startup Walkonomics recently unveiled an app that aims to measure the walkability of streets based on physical characteristics. The new Walkonomics app — currently available only for Manhattan, San Francisco and the United Kingdom — uses open source data to rank streets on a scale of one to five.

Whereas Walk Score bases its rankings largely on the accessibility of nearby amenities, Walkonomics looks at sidewalk-level measurements such as street widths, traffic levels, 311 cleanliness reports, crime statistics, and pedestrian injuries. So you could say that Walk Score, which has been a valuable tool in the real estate industry, is geared toward measuring the walkability of neighborhoods, while Walkonomics tells you about the pedestrian-friendliness of specific blocks.

So far Walkonomics has rated some 600,000 streets, factoring in characteristics such as traffic safety, crossing distance, and sidewalk width.

The mobile app, which is available for iPhone and Android, is still rough around the edges, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves in future releases. Walkonomics’ Adam Davies says his company is working to add all major cities in the U.S. This year they hope to provide data for Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston.