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Why pedestrian safety rankings matter to real estate agents

Good Magazine took a look at a “handful of cities around the world” and how often pedestrians are killed to create a new infographic outlining how American cities stack up against European and Asian nations… and it’s not good news.

By analyzing the number of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents, North America averages 3 deaths per 100,000, 2 in Europe and only 1 in Asia. As a southerner, I was surprised at the results because I had imagined that New York would be off the charts with pedestrian deaths, but it’s not even close to the top of the list.

Number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents:

  1. Atlanta 10.97
  2. Detroit 10.31
  3. Los Angeles 7.64
  4. Baltimore 7.54
  5. Philadelphia 6.22
  6. Chicago 5.89
  7. Washington D.C. 5.74
  8. Milwaukee 5.68
  9. San Francisco 4.33
  10. New York City 3.49
  11. Seattle 4.32
  12. Boston 4.24
  13. Portland 3.39

Is anyone else shocked at how insanely high Atlanta and Detroit rank? That’s really scary! The order is very different than I had anticipated with D.C., NYC and San Fran raking lower than many other metro areas, is the list what YOU expected?

Check out the interactive infographic by clicking the image below:

Why any of this matters to real estate

We’ve been talking for a few years now about several factors that are culminating into one: walkability. In many cities in America, suburbs are beginning to feel a slight decline in population while metropolitan areas are growing as people are ditching their cars in favor of their feet or their bicycles. There is a growing public conscience pertaining to environmentalism and health and walkability is becoming a real factor in home selection for a bigger and bigger population. We’re not just talking about hippies anymore, we’re talking about every day average Americans.

Anna Altic said in a recent article about WalkScores of homes, “In June 2009 a study was conducted looking at home values in various US cities in walkable vs. non walkable communities and they found homes in walkable communities garnered an additional 4k – 34k. In fact for every additional point a home scored for walk friendliness, meant an average increase in value from $500-$3000.”

Altic also notes that “there is mounting evidence that individuals who live in walkable communities are more likely to meet the Surgeon General’s recommendations for physical activity.”

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We personally have made a recent shift out of the suburbs and into the city for many of the reasons other homeowners are and we don’t consider ourselves on the fringe, rather in the mainstream. Many conversations we have with our friends are now about how they want to move to the city out of the suburbs and walkability is one of the top reasons why.

Agents have to understand the public sentiment as it is shifting. This isn’t to say that the suburbs will die because in most cities, that’s where the best schools are and it isn’t to say that you should ditch your market for a walkable one. The reason pedestrian safety rankings matter to real estate agents is because mainstream, common buyers are now making decisions as to where to live based on factors that used to be seen as liberal hippie nonsense. home sizes are shrinking and traffic to WalkScore.com has more than doubled in the last 12 months, so take note Realtors- hippie mentality is no longer for the hippies!

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Liz Benitez

    September 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    As I was reading this I was thinking about how nice it would be to walk to work, not have to worry about cutting the grass every week, get my exercise getting my groceries, see my husband everyday at 5 instead of 7 because he doesn’t have to commute, it all sound great in my head but there is no way I would subject my kids to the inner city public schools.
    Now this is just me personally but until I can put my kids through private school, the walkability isn’t going to affect my place of residence.

    As for a business point I think the info and stats are great and I look forward to being able to direct my more green clients to WalkScore.com to help them in making there home decision.

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