Walkonomics Will Find You the Most Tree-Lined Route Through Your City
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Walkonomics Will Find You the Most Tree-Lined Route Through Your City

OlegAlbinsky / iStockPhoto

Up the leafiness of your morning commute or the walk back to your hotel.

Any number of mapping apps can take you from point A to point B, but how many can find you the most scenic way to get there? On a long drive, this can often be accomplished by checking “avoid highways when calculating route,” but in a city, it’s more subjective. Find the route with the most trees, and you’ve got a pretty good start.

That’s what the latest version of Walkonomics does. Created to quantify the pedestrian experience by factors like hilliness, navigability, safety, and aesthetics, pulling from both public data and user-submitted rankings, the app is beginning to provide directions based on that data, using OpenStreetMap. Last year, it could make you a “WalkHood” based on locations that were five minutes away from you on foot.

Now, working off both city data and overhead views of urban canopies, it can find you the most tree-filled route through New York, San Francisco, Paris, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Glasgow, and Central London.

Research shows that living near a park can lower you lower your stress and provide a bunch of other health benefits besides, but maybe it’s unrealistic to expect people to think about their cortisol levels when trying to get to work on time. With that in mind, Walkonomics has a slider with "beautiful" on one end and "fast" on the other, so you can plan a path that’s both mood-improving and somewhat efficient.

Creator Adam Davies eventually want to make the “beauty” metric more nuanced, incorporating the locations of historic monuments and buildings, as well as user ratings. Follow the developments to that end here.

More good reads from T+L:
America's Greenest Cities
The Best Cities for Biking on Earth
World's Best Islands

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