Walk Score, the company that has revolutionized the real estate industry by attaching a value to a place by how well you can get to everyday amenities by walking or transit, has released a new measurement for car-free urban living.
How easy is it to get around by bike from anywhere in your city? How bikeable is the area near the apartment you want to rent? Now you can find out with the new bike version of walk score. As with walk score and transit score, the measurement is on a 0-100 scale (from least to most bikeable), except bike score is based on the availability of bike infrastructure (lanes and trails), the hilliness of the area, destinations and road connectivity, and the number of bike commuters.
Bike score is only in its beta phase, so there are only scores for the cities which it has determined are the 10 most bikeable large cities in the U.S. They are:
- Minneapolis (79 bike score)
- Portland (70)
- San Francisco (70)
- Boston (68)
- Madison (67)
- Washington, D.C. (65)
- Seattle (64)
- Tucson (64)
- New York (62)
- Chicago (62)
Keep in mind, the highest score possible is 100, so even the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. would only receive a "C" grade. Though, according to Walk Score, a score of 70 or higher is still considered a "very bikeable" city.
With walk score, you can see the distribution of walkable places in a city using a heat map. It's similar with bike score except you can also see how well each of the specific measurement categories break down on a heat map. Take Minneapolis, Walk Score's most bikeable city. In the heat map below, the places in green are the most bikeable and the places in yellow/red are least bikeable:
And here's the availability of bike lanes in Minneapolis:
It's certainly a useful tool if you're a biker moving to one of the 10 cities listed.
But it's also been an important tool for the real estate industry. Having this information at hand has led to research from CEOs for Cities which found that a one-point increase in walk score could mean an increase in home value of as much as $3,000. It's data that can help entice potential buyers and renters and it's available on more than 15,000 real estate websites. Having the additional information on the bikeability of a city will only enhance its importance and add to its value.