Dreaming of going car-free? You'll want to pay attention to Walk Score. The organization uses a proprietary algorithm to assign walkability scores to U.S. cities and neighborhoods, based on an array of factors. Recently, it released an updated list of the 10 "most walkable" cities in America. The scores take into account factors like access to public transportation and proximity to amenities like parks, theaters, schools, and restaurants.
The number one city on Walk Score's list is no big shocker: New York City. But some of the other cities in the top 10 are more surprising — would you have guessed Miami, Florida to be an especially walkable place? Below is the full list, along with each city's walk score rating.
1. New York (Walk Score: 87.6) 2. San Francisco (Walk Score: 83.9) 3. Boston (Walk Score: 79.5) 4. Philadelphia (Walk Score: 76.5) 5. Miami (Walk Score: 75.6) 6. Chicago (Walk Score: 74.8) 7. Washington, D.C. (Walk Score: 74.1) 8. Seattle (Walk Score: 70.8) 9. Oakland (Walk Score: 68.5) 10. Baltimore (Walk Score: 66.2)
On Walk Score's website, you can also find lists of the most walkable neighborhoods within each of these cities. For NYC, top hoods include Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo and Greenwich Village. In San Francisco, Chinatown, Downtown and the Financial District top the list.
Research has shown that living in walkable neighborhoods and places with good public transit makes citizens happier and healthier. The average resident of a highly walkable neighborhood weighs eight pounds less than someone who lives among sprawl. “For decades, Americans have tended to drive more every year, but that’s changing," Walk Score CEO Josh Herst said.
This holds especially true for Millennials, according to Walk Score. When deciding where to live, 70 percent said walkability was an important or even vital factor. One third said they would pay higher rents in order to live in a place where it's possible to walk to work, shops, and restaurants (one would also assume bars, too). There's also been a large drop in the percentage of 16- to 39-year-olds getting their driver's licenses.