Which are the best cities for walking?

Prevention Magazine, in coordination with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), create an annual list of the best walking cities in the US. Some of the factors included in the ranking are:

  • Percentage of the population that walks for exercise
  • Use of mass transit
  • Parks per square mile
  • Points of interest per square mile
  • Average winter/summer temperatures
  • Percentage of athletic shoe buyers

The top 15 from the 2007 list are as follows:

  • Madison, WI
  • Austin, TX
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Seattle, WA
  • Henderson, NV
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Chandler, AZ
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Plano, NC
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Las Vegas, NV

While this ranking focuses more on fitness and health than safety and adequate facilities, there are few alternative rankings.

Another indication of walkabiliy is the number of people walking! US Census Bureau keeps track of how people get to work. Unfortunately, data for many smaller and medium-sized urban areas is not available. Despite this caveat, the 25 urban areas in the US with the highest percentage of journeys to work by walking reported in the 2005 American Community Survey are listed below.

RankUrban AreaTotal CommutersCommuters WalkingPercent of Commuters
1Champaign, IL58,1055,2399.0
2Burlington, VT54,0664,7818.8
3Iowa City, IA48,0943,7877.9
4Aguadilla--Isabela--San Sebasti�ƒ¡n, PR78,5814,9666.3
5Boulder, CO55,4213,3696.1
6Portland, ME102,6946,0945.9
7New York--Newark, NY--NJ--CT8,003,754466,1205.8
8Madison, WI182,71610,3905.7
9Santa Barbara, CA92,1024,6235.0
10San Francisco--Oakland, CA1,479,42866,8604.5
11Boston, MA--NH--RI1,945,54087,7504.5
12Honolulu, HI339,16115,2354.5
13Ann Arbor, MI136,4456,1064.5
14Cedar Rapids, IA80,5143,0733.8
15Daytona Beach--Port Orange, FL102,7093,8743.8
16Binghamton, NY--PA67,7092,4553.6
17Philadelphia, PA--NJ--DE--MD2,340,30182,1713.5
18Lancaster, PA162,0015,6053.5
19Eugene, OR106,1913,5963.4
20Pittsburgh, PA773,50026,0903.4
21Albany, NY265,5708,8993.4
22Medford, OR63,8902,0863.3
23Santa Cruz, CA77,0542,5123.3
24San Juan, PR727,96223,6963.3
25New Haven, CT251,9118,1973.3

There are also tools available to help you rate the walkability of your community. The Walkability Checklist provides an easy-to-use form to fill out as take a walk around your neighborhood.