Millenium Bridge in London by Neil101 on Flickr
WalkIt.com is a new website out of the United Kingdom that wants “to get people walking more”. In step with the likes of Google Transit and Walkscore, WalkIt.com provides a free, easy to use web service that maps the easiest way to walk from point A to point B in the cities of London, Edinburgh, and Birmingham. You just provide your starting location, your final destination and any in-between stops, and the website plots the best route to follow while letting you know the distance, the time it will take, the calories you will burn and the CO2 that you will save by walking instead of driving, taking a cab, or taking a bus.
A great feature of this website is that the directions it provides are geographically referenced based, meaning that they are similar to how people give directions to other people because they reference specific geographic landmarks. For example, when a user maps a route going from 30 St. Mary Axe to Hyde Park, it gives the user directions including geographic references like, “You’ll eventually pass SMOLLENSKYS ON THE STRAND Restaurant and then SIMPSONS IN THE STRAND Restaurant” and “You’ll pass UNDERGROUND-CHARING CROSS Underground Station”. These references are similar to those you would include when giving directions to another person and are extremely useful because without a car odometer it’s hard to know exactly when to ‘turn right at .7 km’.
This tool is good for encouraging walking as a form of transportation and coupled with other measures like congestion charging and pedestrianization (or should I say pedestrianisation) should help the UK to tackle its obesity problem and cut down on transport related pollution including greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.
Currently <a href="WalkIt.com is only for three UK cities (with plans for more) but hopefully they will eventually expand to other countries.