The online application that gives block-by-block “walkability” calculations for Philadelphia has company in the space, including Walk Score, the Seattle-based national big dog that inspired the locally-focused one. But Avencia’s latest pet project aims to do what it does best, cater to the nuance of Philadelphia.
Walkshed enables users to calculate and map the walkability — access to shops, stops and utilities within walking distance — of any Philadelphia neighborhood based on individual preferences. That means to get your personalized walk score, you can put higher priority on amenities like grocery stores, coffee shops, tree cover and even Philly CareShare pods, among other factors.
You can also incorporate violent crime and other illicit activities in the score because, well, just because you can walk it doesn’t mean you will want to walk it.
Those personal preferences help set Walkshed apart, in addition to its use of actual walking distance, instead of direct-distance measuring. That means, yeah, Ida Mae‘s Bruncherie is a straight shot to the Berks stop on the El, but with the Fishtown Rec Center in the way, what Walk Score might call a few hundred feet, Walkshed might call nearly a 10-minute walk.
That distinction is important because Walkshed was inspired in part by Alan Durning of the Sightline Institute and Walk Score’s origin. It was Durning who originated the concept of a “walkshed index,” which scores a location based on the quantity and diversity of amenities within a one-mile radius. Then in July 2007, Walk Score became the first to implement the idea with an online application scoring the walkability of an address based on its proximity to those various amenities.
With applications like Walk Score and Walkshed, which was built by Aaron Ogle, one of Avencia’s software developers who joined the team in October 2007, “municipalities and citizens alike have a real opportunity to re-think urban life,” reads a press release announcing Avencia’s latest toy release [PDF].
Avencia also announced last week that it was ranked 96th on the 21st annual Philadelphia 100 [PDF], which ranks the region’s fastest growing, privately held companies.-30-
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