I just heard about a great Web site called walkscore.com, which helps users find the most walkable apartments, homes, and rentals. Simply type in an address or city/state, and the site spits out a Walk Score, which rates that town or address on a scale of 0-100. Any score below 50 is described as car-dependent. Other classifications include:
Somewhat walkable: some amenities within walking distance.
Very walkable: most errands can be accomplished on foot.Walker's paradise: Daily errands do not require a car.
Why does walkability matter?
Walkable addresses tend to be more valuable, and the average resident of a walkable community is healthier and weighs less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood. Another benefit of living in a walkable neighborhood is that you spend much less time in traffic (traffic being a huge issue in Atlanta, for example). Never mind that you're less likely to be involved in a car accident, and living in a walkable place is better for the environment, because your feet are zero-pollution transportation machines, as Walk Score's Web site puts it. I imagine that Dan Burden — who Failure once described as "the pied piper of walking" — loves Seattle-based Walk Score.