Walk Score, which has become the most widely-used measure of pedestrian friendly neighborhoods in North America, has added a new trick: they’re now incorporating transit data into their walkability ratings. So in addition to stores, restaurants, parks, and the like, Walk Score now treats nearby bus stops and rail stations as key ingredients of a walkable neighborhood.
What makes this extra nifty is that Walk Score has already partnered with a bunch of national real estate websites to incorporate walkability rankings into real estate listings. So now, all those real estate sites will have data on transit access, too.
Sadly, Walk Score’s new transit ranking only works in places where transit agencies have made their “transit feeds“—the data on transit locations and schedules—freely available to the public. So if you live and walk in Portland, OR, you’re in luck. Same goes for a handful of smaller transit agencies around the Northwest—Island and Jefferson counties in Washington, Tillamook County in OR, and Humboldt County California. But even though King County Metro and Vancouver, BC’s Translink publish their transit data for Google’s use, their transit feeds are kept private—so third parties like Walk Score can’t get access to them.
So the good folks behind Walk Score have set up an online petition to ask local transit agencies to release their transit service data to the public. (I’ve signed the petition—and if you care about walkability and transit, you should too!)