Index (0-100) reflecting amenities accessible by walking as calculated by Walk Score

Walk Score®. Calculated by the Dashboard Team using data from 2022.
Dashboard-City Average

Why do we measure walkability?

Walkability helps us understand how well the design of a city supports walking and other physical activity.1,2 People living in neighborhoods with high walkability are more likely to be active in how they get around, including walking and using public transportation.3,4 Research has found that people in such neighborhoods tend to have lower rates of diabetes and obesity than those living in less walkable areas.5,6 Walkable neighborhoods often have less vehicle use, which can lead to improved air quality.4,7

How do we measure walkability?

This metric measures the walkability of the area surrounding a given address by incorporating walking routes to different types of nearby amenities.

Strengths and Limitations

Strengths of Metric

Limitations of Metric

Walk Score® ratings highlight an individual’s ability to be physically active as part of a daily routine. This gives us useful information that is not represented in the standard survey question about leisure-time physical activity.6,8

• Population-weighted scores reflect where people live.

• Crime data are not incorporated in Walk Score ratings, leaving out a significant barrier to physical activity and walkability in an area.8,9

• Topography is not taken into account when calculating Walk Score ratings. Street and sidewalk slope can prevent individuals from participating in physical activity.8,10

• Weather patterns are also excluded when calculating an area’s walkability. Areas with severe weather can limit opportunities for walking compared to areas with mild weather.

• Quality of sidewalks are not taken into account in Walk Score ratings. Reduced sidewalk safety and accessibility may affect physical activity.11


Walkability is represented by Walk Score ratings, which rate cities and census tracts on a scale of 0 (least walkable) to 100 (most walkable). Walk Score ratings are calculated based on intersection density, residential density, and accessibility of amenities such as grocery stores, parks, and restaurants, which affect the ease of walking within a neighborhood.1,2 City-level and tract-level values represent population-weighted aggregations of blocks. This means that areas in which people are unlikely to live—industrial areas, bodies of water, etc.—do not contribute to the census tract Walk Score value. For more information on the calculation, please refer to the City Health Dashboard Technical Documentation.

Data Source

Estimates for this metric are from Walk Score data.


  1. Hirsch JA, Moore KA, Evenson KR, Rodriguez DA, Diez Roux AV. Walk Score(R) and Transit Score(R) and walking in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Am J Prev Med. 2013;45(2):158-166.

  2. Duncan DT, Aldstadt J, Whalen J, Melly SJ, Gortmaker SL. Validation of walk score for estimating neighborhood walkability: an analysis of four US metropolitan areas. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011;8(11):4160-4179.

  3. Freeman L, Neckerman K, Schwartz-Soicher O, et al. Neighborhood Walkability and Active Travel (Walking and Cycling) in New York City. Journal of Urban Health. 2013;90(4):575-585.

  4. Glazier RH, Creatore MI, Weyman JT, et al. Density, Destinations or Both? A Comparison of Measures of Walkability in Relation to Transportation Behaviors, Obesity and Diabetes in Toronto, Canada. PLOS ONE. 2014;9(1):e85295.

  5. Creatore MI, Glazier RH, Moineddin R, et al. Association of neighborhood walkability with change in overweight, obesity, and diabetes. JAMA. 2016;315(20):2211-2220.

  6. Chiu M, Shah BR, Maclagan LC, Rezai MR, Austin PC, Tu JV. Walk score® and the prevalence of utilitarian walking and obesity among Ontario adults: A cross-sectional study. Health Reports. 2015;26:3-10.

  7. Frank LD, Sallis JF, Conway TL, Chapman JE, Saelens BE, Bachman W. Many Pathways from Land Use to Health: Associations between Neighborhood Walkability and Active Transportation, Body Mass Index, and Air Quality. Journal of the American Planning Association. 2006;72(1):75-87.

  8. Koschinsky J, Talen E, Alfonzo M, Lee S. How walkable is Walker’s paradise? Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science. 2017;44:343-363.

  9. Carr LJ, Dunsiger SI, Marcus BH. Walk score as a global estimate of neighborhood walkability. Am J Prev Med. 2010;39(5):460-463.

  10. Duncan DT, Aldstadt J, Whalen J, Melly SJ. Validation of Walk Scores and Transit Scores for estimating neighborhood walkability and transit availability: a small-area analysis. GeoJournal. 2012;78(2):407-416.

  11. Ria Hutabarat Lo. Walkability: what is it?. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability. 2009; 2:2, 145-166

Last updated: October 30, 2020