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Walk Scores, Bike Scores, Transit Scores, and Sound Scores: How to Use Them in the House Hunting Journey

August 31 2022

While viewing property listings online can provide valuable insight on what available homes look like, traditional online listings can fail to provide a comprehensive view of the neighborhoods and communities these homes reside in.

Homes.com, on the other hand, takes house hunting to the next level with its livability scores, which give users an idea of what it's like to live in a specific community or part of town. Homes.com offers four of these scores: a walk score, a bike score, a transit score, and a sound score, three of which gauge the ease of transportation, and one of which gauges the noisiness of a property or community.

Let's break each of these scores down further:

Walk Scores

hdc walk bike transit scores 1A walk score measures how walkable a listing's neighborhood is. Walk scores range from 0 to 100, with a 0 indicating little to no walkability in a location, and a 100 indicating ample walkability.

Ranges:

  • 90-100 = "Walker's Paradise"
  • 70-89 = "Very Walkable"
  • 50-69 = "Somewhat Walkable"
  • 0-49 = "Car-Dependent"

According to the Walk Score website, a "Walker's Paradise" rating insinuates that everyday errands can be accomplished on foot. In other words, these properties are situated close to grocery stores, restaurants, and public buildings like schools, libraries, post offices, and government offices.

A rating of "Very Walkable" implies that most, but not all, errands can be accomplished on foot. These properties are likely close to some public buildings and resources, but far from others.

A "Somewhat Walkable" rating suggests only some errands can be accomplished by walking.

A rating of "Car-Dependent" indicates that most, if not all, errands require a car to be completed. These properties are likely found in city suburbs or small towns, areas which are directly impacted by urban sprawl, a process where developers acquire large quantities of undeveloped land in order to build communities of low-density housing (i.e., single-family homes), usually surrounding metropolitan areas.

Bike Scores

hdc walk bike transit scores 2A bike score measures how bike-friendly a neighborhood is. Bike scores also range from 0 to 100, with a 0 indicating a non-bike-friendly neighborhood, and a 100 indicating a very bike-friendly neighborhood.

Ranges:

  • 90-100 = "Biker's Paradise"
  • 70-89 = "Very Bikeable"
  • 50-69 = "Bikeable"
  • 0-49 = "Somewhat Bikeable"

According to Walk Score, a "Biker's Paradise" rating indicates that everyday errands can be accomplished on a bike. These properties are likely located in areas with ample bike infrastructure, like bike lanes, racks, shelters, and traffic signals.

A rating of "Very Bikeable" suggests that a variety of biking options are available for the public to use, though these areas have their limitations. Residents should be able to bike to most places, but probably need to rely on other forms of transportation to get to others.

A "Bikeable" rating implies that an area offers limited options for bikers. It's likely that some forms of bike infrastructure are present, but not enough to rely on biking as a steady mode of transportation.

A rating of "Somewhat Bikeable" hints that an area offers few to no forms of bike infrastructure. Biking in these areas is likely challenging or dangerous, so bikers would probably have a hard time navigating these types of neighborhoods.

Transit Scores

hdc walk bike transit scores 3A transit scale measures how close a property is to methods of public transportation. Transit scores also range from 0 to 100.

Ranges:

  • 90-100 = "Rider's Paradise"
  • 70-89 = "Excellent Transit"
  • 50-69 = "Good Transit"
  • 25-49 = "Some Transit"
  • 0-24 = "Minimal Transit" (public transportation is rare or not an option)

Walk Score's website states that a "Rider's Paradise" rating implies that properties are surrounded by high-quality methods of public transportation that are also easy to access. Properties with this rating are usually within metropolitan areas with close access to subways, buses, light rails, or passenger trains.

A rating of "Excellent Transit" indicates that some forms of public transportation are available, but is limited overall. Such forms of transportation can carry residents to most of the places they need to go, but probably not all of them.

A "Good Transit" rating suggests that public transportation is moderately accessible, but could also be unreliable or even inconvenient to use.

A "Some Transit" rating hints that public transportation options are minimal and likely inconvenient to use, either due to lower quality service or crowding due to overuse.

A rating of "Minimal Transit" indicates that public transportation is either rare or not an option. Properties with this rating are likely located in smaller towns with little to no funding going toward public transit. It's no surprise that these communities also tend to depend more on cars to get around.

Sound Scores

hdc walk bike transit scores 4A sound score measures the noisiness of a property, ranging from 0 to 100.

HowLoud doesn't have a rating rubric on their website, but the company specifies that properties in louder areas receive lower scores, while properties in quieter areas receive higher scores.

Where to Access Homes.com Livability Scores

You can find the "Scores" section in between the "Transit" and "Property Details" sections of any listing.

All four scores will be present on each listing, but some scores may read "N/A" if Walk Score or HowLoud don't have enough data to assign a score to a particular listing.

Choosing a neighborhood to live in is almost as important as selecting a house. Make sure you know all the details of a property before deciding on a new home, including the various ways in which you can comfortably navigate the community around you!

To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.