The American Podiatric Medical Association – known as the AMPA – developed a set of criteria to quantify the best cities for walking. The elements of the measure include “population density per square mile, use of mass transit, crime rates, square miles of local and state parks and a 1-5 rating on a walkability scale.” Other organizations use slightly different criteria, and measure different objectives, such as the ability to complete errands and the safety of pedestrians.
walkscore.com rates areas based on their walkabllity and has an algorithm to compute walkability that takes several factors into account. The biggest factors seem to be density of city, availalibility of public transit, short blocks, schools, and restaurants as well as how interspersed these are. walkscore.com states the following makes for a walkable neighborhood:
I think that ajbry and phallus pretty much covered it, but for reference, according to CNBC, the most walkable cities in the US are: San Francisco, New York, Boston, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Philadelphia, Chicago, Providence and Portland.
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