Walkability Assessment Assignment
Geog 366

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this exercise is to assess the walkability of a (your) neighborhood. We'll compare two approaches. One is a survey instrument modified from one used at the University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center (found at http://depts.washington.edu/hprc/walkability). The other is a web-based GIS tool found at www.walkscore.com . Try both and see how well they work.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pick a block/location in the city for which to assess the walkability. (It would be best if the class spread their efforts across the city so that we can compare findings to build a map of the relative walkability of different parts of the city. A stratified random sample would be interesting, but each of us working from our home might be more personally useful.)
  2. Use Googe Earth (or Bing or your Bryans Sectional Map) to get the latitude and longitude of your place and an image of the area to help guide your assessment. With the iamge/map in hand, look at the list of questions below and plan how you would to walk to the various features.
  3. Go out and walk around the block and (if possible) to the features that the survey includes. Observe. Count the numbers of steps around the block. Keep track of the time to get around to the various features. Mark your routes and times on the image. Note your empirical field-based answers to the survey questions below.
  4. Then, use the Walk Score website to get a score for an address on the block.
  5. Finally, write up the report and turn it in.

THE REPORT: There are two parts: One is your data, the answers to the questions below. The other is a one page assessment of the walkability of your neighborhood adressing both of these methods and how well these two methods assess it. (How livable is it without a car?) Did the website agree with your on the ground assessment?

Don't forget to include your name, the class, the observation assignment title, and the date in the upper right hand corner of the front page.

The Data to collect

    The location

  1. Neighborhood name:
  2. Lat/Lon:
  3. Street and address or cross street:
  4. How many minutes does it take to walk around the block, starting from your home and returning back to your home? (minutes and seconds:
    categorically: <5, 5-10, 10-15, >15, it's too big to walk around)
  5. How many steps does it take to walk around the block?
  6. Which best describes the sidewalks in the area:
  7. Stores

  8. How many grocery stores or markets (convenience stores don't count, use fresh produce and meat as indicators) are within a 10 - 15 minute walk of your home? (none, 1, 2-3, 4 or more)
  9. Considering the closest grocery store or market, how many minutes does it take to walk there from your home? (<10, 10-15, >15)
  10. How direct is the route for walking there? (fairly direct, fairly indirect, very indirect)
  11. How many of the grocery stores or markets counted above are close to or clustered with restaurants and retail stores? (none, 1, 2 or more, don't know)
  12. How many minutes does it take to walk to the grocery store, restaurant, and retail store cluster closest to your home? (<5, 5-10, >10)
  13. Eating and Drinking Places

  14. Considering the closest eating or drinking place, how many minutes does it take to walk there from your home? (<10, 10-15, >15)
  15. Schools

  16. How many schools, public or private, are within a 10 - 15 minute walk of your home? (none, 1, 2-3, 4 or more)
  17. How direct is the route for walking to the closest one? (fairly direct, fairly indirect, very indirect)
  18. Other Facilities

  19. How many churches or places of worship, are within a 10 - 15 minute walk of your home? (none, 1, 2-3, 4 or more)
  20. How many banks are within a 10-15 minute walk of your home? (none, 1, 2-3, 4 or more)
  21. Offices

  22. How many office complexes (3 or more office buildings) are within a 15 minute walk from your home? (none, 1, 2-3, 4 or more)
  23. How many minutes does it take to walk to the closest office complex? (<5, 5-10, >10)
  24. Public Transit

  25. How many different bus routes have stops within a 10 minute walk of your home? (none, 1, 2-3, 4 or more)
  26. Try the Walk Score site...

  27. Look up the address and Walk Score. What socre do they give the place?

For deep thought time...

Spatial databases and LBS raise some interesting questions, particularly about why and when might rely on such technology as opposed to our own experience. In a slightly different context, the comedian Richard Pryor asked: "Who you gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?" It's a deep question.