Walkable communities offer many advantages to residents and visitors alike. There are environmental and economic benefits, as well as greater livability.
As more people are able to walk to their destinations, less automobile traffic means less air pollution, less energy consumption, and less land needed for roads and parking, enabling the preservation of open space. Walkable communities often have more transportation options as well, including biking and public transit opportunities. Fewer cars on the road also reduce the risk of being involved in a crash.
Walkable neighborhoods allow local businesses get the foot traffic needed to grow and prosper; complete streets allow all residents access to available services. According to a study commissioned by CEOs For Cities, walkable communities even boast higher property values than similar homes in less-walkable areas. This both increases the local tax base, offering many advantages to residents, and boosts the individual wealth of homeowners.
The health of individuals in pedestrian-friendly areas also tends to be better than those in auto-dependent communities. The average resident weighs seven pounds less and gets the 30 minutes per day of physical activity recommended by the Surgeon General. Ties between neighbors and within the community are stronger, and that not only enhances a person’s quality of life but means greater safety in the area.
How walkable is your neighborhood? Find out at www.walkscore.com.