Walkability scores don’t really measure pedestrian-friendliness

Residents of New York may want to learn more about what walkability scores really mean and how they affect pedestrian safety and other factors. These scores are mainly based on what destinations surround a neighborhood rather than on how safe and comfortable they are for pedestrians.

Studies done by the Urban Institute of neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., show another need: consideration of who is actually walking. Pedestrian crash ratings are not examined nor is how long it takes to cross the road. There are other things to consider when forming these scores.

Enjoyable walking on these streets

The question of whether people enjoy walking on these streets should be considered. A host of other factors may warrant investigation. These include:

  • Safety and the frequency of pedestrian-involved crashes
  • Access to shopping, schools and bus stops
  • Environmental factors such as noise, pollution, greenery and more
  • Sidewalks and more, such as the illegal act of trash dumping
  • Police presence whether good or bad

Walkability scores often do not reflect pedestrian accidents, which may play a large role in how safe people actually feel in walking on these local streets.

Other factors were not under consideration

People walking on the street may face gender-based harassment. The scores did not account for people with disabilities traveling on the streets. Flooding and bad drainage make walking very difficult, but this was not factored into the score.

Even with the best infrastructure, there may be problems

Shade, policing, heat and noise may all affect the person’s desire to walk on the street in a neighborhood. The study mentioned that racial equity should also receive consideration when determining walkability; this would encourage walking as a truly appropriate form of transportation in times of high gas prices.

Pedestrian-friendliness is not a consideration in the walking score. These stuides should take into account more important factors to form these scores to make walkability more inclusive.