Walking is one of the simplest activities that improves health and helps the environment.
Walking increases cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, increases bone strength, and improves the management of hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, and joint or muscular pain, among other benefits.
As more people choose walking over transportation, vehicle emissions and pollution are also cut.
Pedestrians First is a report from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy that measures walkability in cities. It focuses on measuring people’s proximity to everyday needs, including transit, healthcare, and education. Additionally, it measures proximity to car-free places or public open spaces.
The following indicators are used to analyze each city:
Researchers from ITDP state that walkable cities are vital to improving health, cutting climate-changing transportation emissions, and building stronger local communities and economies. However, many cities are dominated by cars, especially U.S. cities. The most walkable U.S. cities are New York City, Boston, San Francisco, and Baltimore, while the least walkable are Orlando, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and San Antonio.
Below are the most walkable cities based on three of the “most telling” indicators: proximity to services, proximity to car-free places, and block density. For this article, “major” cities have at least 5 million inhabitants. Bogotá, Colombia, is the only city in all three lists.
The top five major global cities by proximity (within one kilometer) to healthcare and education are:
The top five major cities by closeness to car-free places (within 100 meters) are:
Block density measures the average size of a city’s blocks. Smaller blocks make it easier for people to walk to their destination. The top five major cities by density are: