While most Americans drive their personal cars to get around the cities they’re living in, a lot of people in the US still commute by walking. Though some prefer this mode of travel for health, environmental, and/or personal reasons, others simply don’t have a choice. For these people, a city’s walkability is extremely important. If you’re wondering what the most walkable city in the US is, you’re in luck, as apartment search engine Rent.com has just released a report listing the cities with the highest walkability scores in the country.
What is the most walkable city in the US?
Using Walk Score data from Rent.com’s parent company Redfin, the website ranked 50 US cities according to their walkability, which is basically the capability of people to easily walk to nearby amenities based on factors like population density, intersection density, and block length.
Published earlier this week, the report names New York City as the most walkable city in the US, with a near-perfect Walk Score of 99. NYC taking the top spot isn’t really surprising. The city contains nearly 30,000 acres of walkable parks and each neighborhood has multiple social centers and commercial hubs, so there are few empty gaps for which to walk a long distance around.
Among all the five boroughs in the city, Manhattan is the most walkable, with the Bronx close behind. NYC, particularly in Manhattan, also offers an incredibly simple numbered grid system through which to navigate.
Meanwhile, of all the NYC neighborhoods, the following are the most walkable: Bowery, Financial District, Flatiron District, Little Italy, and Lower East Side.
How much do New Yorkers walk?
According to Rent.com, the average New Yorker walks between two and five miles a day. Since NYC has the highest population density of any large city in the US, many New Yorkers have no reason not to walk. Aside from the fact that most destinations in the city are not that far from each other, a lot of walking is happening to and from New York’s transit system, which is the largest in the nation and the one with the most stations.
Based on a 2014 report by the Census Bureau, among the 3,685,786 workers in New York, 10.3 percent walked to work, 55.6 percent took public transportation, 0.8 percent biked, and 3.9 percent worked at home.
What are the other most walkable cities in the US?
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, California is the second most walkable city in the US. While it is known for its hills and steep inclines, San Francisco residents love commuting by walking. People in the city also walk for leisure, thanks to its nice walkable locales, including Golden Gate Park, The Presidio, and the Embarcadero.
Berkeley, California is the list’s third placer. A decade ago, the city introduced a program called Everyone Walks in Berkeley, which encouraged residents to walk to school, work, or for errands on the first Wednesday of each month. With the objective of educating commuters on the ease and benefits of walking over vehicle commuting, the program seemed to have made many residents switch to walking as their most preferred daily mode of commuting. One of the most walkable areas in the city is the University of California.
Cambridge, Massachusetts is the fourth most walkable city in the US, thanks in part to the Harvard University that can be found in the city’s Middlesex County. Large cities with college towns are often walkable. When students can easily and comfortably walk between campus and a busy nearby downtown, other city residents will do the same, and that has been the case for Cambridge.
Boston, MA, and Jersey City, NJ
Boston, Massachusetts, and Jersey City, New Jersey are tied for the fifth spot. Much of the land in Boston Downtown and out to Back Bay was formerly a landfill, and that landfill allowed Boston to create room for parks, green spaces, and trails that are perfect for walking.
Jersey City, meanwhile, has a sprawling cityscape that is very walkable. A former industrial and dock town, Jersey City now boasts long avenues, massive parks, and a stunning waterfront, which are all walk-friendly.
Check out Rent.com’s complete ranking here.