…by which I mean WalkScore.
The above website hosts a pretty neat app that lets you determine how ‘walkable’ your neighborhood is. It is a great example of the kind of analysis that you can do when you have a huge amount of data available. For instance, geolocation information on every bus route, bike path, park, and retail store in America.
However, the score that your home address gets is only as good as the algorithm applied to the database.
Since where I live gets a “Walker’s Paradise” 91/100 score, I am inclined to believe in their methodology. In fact, they claim that only 3% of Austinites live in a more walk-able part of town. The only neighborhoods that beat me out are the University of Texas itself and Downtown. It is no wonder I don’t want to move…
However, the site also claims that Houston is more walkable than Austin, which is patently false. So I am inclined to not believe their algorithm.
How I think that they came to this outrageous conclusion is that they count the number of walkable neighborhoods, not taking into account the percent of people or the area that these neighborhoods actually cover. I think this is why LA also beats Houston. Such huge metropolises may contain some very walkable areas, but as a whole they are impossible to traverse by foot. This is not the case in Austin, even though it is a tenth of the size.
lrn2normalize ppl, kthxbye.