Two people walking

We built our Rate Your Walk tool to get an inkling of how walkable you find your streets.

Now Matt, our digital coordinator, has been crunching the numbers, and he's discovered a striking trend that'll get our campaigns team thinking.

Matt our digital coordinator
Walking

We built our Rate Your Walk tool in the same spirit as the revealing Walking Cities survey that we used to kick off National Walking Month.

Only instead of focusing on the most populous cities, our tool allows anyone to rate any walk for safety, convenience and straight-forward pleasantness. 

It asks us how walkable are the streets where we live.

So what does it tell us?

Well, there are some interesting trends, especially when you look region-by-region. But the single most striking thing that leaps out is the how much more poorly our walks to school rate compared to our other walks.

Mind the Gap!

How the Walk to School needs some TLC

3.5

Overall average score

3.93

Walks for leisure average

3.27

Walks to school average

bench

The Walk to School consistently scores below the average across the UK in your ratings.

There's similar satisfaction expressed about our walks to the shops (3.27), another walk where we have less choice about our route.

Along with the walk to work, we call these utilitarian walks - ones that we undertake for a purpose other than pure enjoyment. These are walks, remember, about which we have less say in their route.

The gap might appear small. However, when you compare the scores with the walks we choose purely for enjoyment, you see how much poorer 'utilitarian' walks rate.

And there's some startling variations in this gap when we compare leisure walk and walk to school ratings region-by-region...

trees

Scotland

Leisure 4.03
School 3.54

Northwest

Leisure 3.95
School 3.32

Northeast

Leisure 4.25
School 3.5

Yorkshire

Leisure 4.03
School 3.54

Wales

Leisure 4.17
School 2.88

West Mids

Leisure 3.72
School 3.27

East Mids

Leisure 4.00
School 3.38

East

Leisure 3.76
School 3.19

Southwest

Leisure 3.94
School 3.20

London

Leisure 3.66
School 3.23

Southeast

Leisure 3.89
School 3.29

So what's this all mean?

Shouldn't the walks that we take for leisure be the standard?

What we take from our Rate Your Walk findings so far is that the gap between the walking routes we must use and those we choose to take is too great.

We must close this gap. And this goes double for the Walk to School. And just look at some of the regional differences - most notably Wales, where its Leisure walk score (4.17) is 2nd in the whole country, but where Walks to School rate lowest of all (2.88).

Of course we welcome the fact that the overall scores suggest that most of our walks aren't really unpleasant. That is great news.

In our opinion, though, the Walk to School is the barometer for how walkable our streets are.

No ifs, no buts: when school children and parents with buggies cannot get around easily, the street needs fixing.

And shouldn't the walks that we take for leisure set the standard?

Shouldn't all our everyday walks - to the shops, to work and to school - to be as accessible and enjoyable as those we take for fun and relaxation?

Keep rating your walks

It's summertime, so take advantage. Walk to (or from) work. Take a journey you normally do by car on foot. The more raitngs we have, the better idea we have of the job in hand.

Rate Your Walk

Some other interesting findings

Map of UK

South-North divide

The further north you go, the happier folks are with their walks.

Below the line, in green, the average score for all regions is less than 3.5. Above it in pink it is 3.5 or higher.

Angel of the North, walking

Northern lights

Walkers in the Northeast contributed the highest ratings in all categories, with an average score of 3.78.

London

London's lagging

The lowest ratings in the whole UK came from Londoners, with an average score of 3.3.

Walking Cities: London

Pie chart

2,392 ratings... so far

All walks rated by type of walk...

  • Walk to School 36%
  • Walk to Work 25%
  • Leisure walks 12%
  • Exercise 11%
  • Walks to the shop 9%
  • Other 7%