Walkability, in the urban context, is defined as a framework of mixed land uses where housing, work, school, retail, and entertainment are within easy and convenient walking distance of each other. Walkable development supports a multimodal transportation framework which includes convenient transit service and a high quality pedestrian experience. This form of compact development constitutes a 20 minute “walkable” neighborhood. Development of walkable neighborhoods is a key aspect of the Baton Rouge Comprehensive Land Use and Development Plan, known as FUTUREBR.
In fulfillment of this goal, the City of Baton Rouge-Parish of East Baton Rouge Planning Commission was tasked with the effort to analyze the walkability of the City. To this end, a multistep analysis was performed.
Planners determined which businesses and resources would be considered “essential services” for purposes of walkability. With this determination, each essential business type was categorized by NAICS code and a numerical weight was assigned to each category. Each business in the urbanized portion of the parish was assigned a numerical weight corresponding to its business type/NAICS code.
Additionally, weights were assigned to public services including schools, parks, police and fire stations, libraries, and community centers. An additional bonus score was added for presence of sidewalks on a street. The weights were then totaled for a given area and entered into a raster grid feature class. Each grid cell contains a score corresponding to the weighted total of the scores of the essential private and public services in the area.
Using these values, a hotspot analysis was performed using GeoMedia Grid software to produce the map on this website. Red shaded areas correspond to neighborhoods with higher scores of walkability and blue shaded areas correspond to neighborhoods with lower scores.
This process seeks to identify areas of the City with both high and low current walkability potential. The results of this analysis is being used to develop policies for increasing walkability in auto-oriented portions of the Parish, as well as nurturing and sustaining the existing framework of walkable and compact neighborhoods.