SAN DIEGO -
A new smartphone application is giving San Diego County residents a chance to grade their home communities based on their walkability.
"Walkability is central to our quality of life," said Walk San Diego Executive Director Jim Stone. "People who are in walkable places tend to be healthier, they have lower health care costs, their real estate values are better."
The nonprofit recently unveiled the "BestWALK" app. The first-of-its-kind application asks walkers to rate walking routes in each city in the county. Questions include width of sidewalks, availability of crosswalks and quality of sidewalks.
Walk San Diego hopes to rate at least 4,000 roads in the next few weeks, with the ultimate goal being 10,000 local roads rated. Eventually, those scores will be tabulated and presented to each city. They'll also be available to walkers looking for the best places to walk.
"We're hoping that one city that doesn't score as well as another is going to become incentivized to say, 'We don't want to be at the bottom of the list. We want to be at the top of the list,'" said Stone.
The BestWALK app also looks to encourage people to walk, in general.
"If you want to improve your health, walk 30 minutes a day," said Stone. "Nobody is against walkability. I've never met a person who said, 'No, I don't think walkability's a good idea.' It's a great idea."
The application is already available on Android phones and it is expected to be available for iPhones by next week.