Back in 2006, a researcher named Alan Durning undertook a year of car-free living after his teenage son totalled their family car. Shortly afterward he started looking to see what destinations were closest to get through using his bike and their Burley trailer. In 2007, one of his colleagues at the Sightline Institute decided to take his idea and run with it, creating WalkScore.com, a website that uses data from Google Maps to evaluate every location based upon the number of destinations (restaurants, parks, grocery stores, coffee shops, bookstores, schools, etc.) within walking distance.
Now, in a return to the idea that inspired it, WalkScore.com has developed the BikeScore, a new rating system that looks at the bikability of a few cities around the country. The methodology for BikeScore is a little more extensive than WalkScore, looking at four factors to grade locations:
- Proximity to bicycle facilities (bike lanes, trails, etc.),
- Hilliness (steep grades),
- Destinations (a modified version of WalkScore using longer distances), and
- Census data on the % of bike commuters in an area.
The more data intensive methodology means that they haven’t calculated BikeScores for every place (so far just 10 US cities and 10 Canadian cities. So, for Baltimore to get scored, we need to have everyone that can write a “tweet” saying “We want #BikeScore for Baltimore!”