7 Reasons to Promote Your Institution’s Walk Score
by Marcel Ayers on September 25, 2014
There is a website called walkscore.com. You might have heard of it. It quantifies how walkable any location is by calculating its distance from stores, services, transit, and takes into consideration other livability aspects. It’s primarily directed at home owners and renters looking to relocate. But, what if you used it on your institution’s website? Why not add a link or section, perhaps on your prospective students’ or housing page, which emphasizes your institution’s walkability? Because, really, aren’t all students on the verge of relocating?
Need more reasons to add Walk Score to your website? Let me persuade you with 7:
1. Freshmen don’t usually have cars.
Some of your institutions don’t even allow it and many parents don’t feel their son or daughter can take on the responsibility or expense; especially, when far away from home. So, these students are probably in need of a bit more direction. Walk Score provides visitors the ability to search for nearby restaurants, shopping locations, entertainment, and more.
2. Opens the door to new campaigns.
Hand out pedometers. Put a hashtag on it. Make it a contest. Who can walk the most? Or, do a “Car Free Day.” The possibilities are endless.
3. Walking promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Many students, not just freshman, often succumb to the dreaded “Freshman 15.” You can encourage a healthier routine by highlighting places to walk (i.e. parks, grocery stores, etc.). Walk Score has its own listicle about the health benefits of walking.
4. Is your city bike-able and transit-friendly?
Walk Score will let you know! It will even calculate your commute, including driving costs. And, they have a travel time map that shows how far you can travel on foot, bus, bike, or car in a specified amount of time. This is great for planning errands between classes.
5. Walking helps the environment.
Reducing car use can greatly reduce carbon emissions, air pollution, and traffic congestion. Not to mention, noise pollution. And, hey, if you’re not in a car, you’re less likely to get into a car accident.
6. Gets people involved with the community.
According to the Sightline Institute, for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%. Give your students a reason to stick around for your campus activities by showing all the great city amenities available to them.
7. Features the area.
You love your institution's surrounding city. Why not show it off! Highlight favorite spots from students, admin, staff, etc. and help someone discover something new today.
It’s easy. Just type in your college or university in the search bar and click on the map to see what is nearby. Is your favorite coffee shop missing? Tell them. Walk Score allows you to submit places that you know exist and need to be added on the map. It could even up your intuition’s score!
In addition, there’s an API which a developer could leverage to add the walk score directly to your institution’s web page. They also provide other great data services. You can request more information to use the data how you see fit.
So, what’s your institution's walk score?