A privately compiled list of most convenient cities for runners across the US has placed Arlington, Virginia, at the top for two years back to back now.
According to the financial tech firm SmartAsset’s assessments, for runners, Arlington is the best of its sort out of 98 US cities studied this year, much like the year before when it made to the top ranking for the first time. In 2017, however, it was nowhere to be found in the top 10. Washington, D.C., has equally made strides over the past three years, moving from 8th to 7th place from 2017 to 2018 and eventually to the 3rd place this year.
In both Arlington and Washington, almost all residents live in close proximity of a park and all they need to reach one is an enjoyable 10-minute walk given how good they fare in SmartAsset’s walkability index as well. They are the only two cities from the larger Washington metro area to make it to the top 10 in this year’s list where the region’s next best contenders — Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland — appeared on the 20th and 22nd places, respectively.
SmartAsset says it takes into account eight factors to put together the lists: the number of races per 10,000 residents, walkability, how many workers walk to work, pedestrian safety, housing costs as a percentage of income, the number of gyms per 10,000 residents, the percentage of a city covered by parkland and the percentage of residents with access to a park.
At the lowest end of this year’s list are cities mostly from the states of Texas and Arizona. Texas has eight of the bottom 25 cities, while Arizona has six.
In its key findings, SmartAsset says there are significant differences between the best and the worst cities named in its list. While almost all residents across the top 10 cities live within a 10-minute walk of a park, every resident out of two does not in the bottom 10.
The top 10 cities are also nearly twice as walkable as the bottom 10 cities. And their residents’ daily routines seem to testify to the fact that they enjoy their cities’ walkability. Across the top 10, the percentage of the workforce that walks to work is almost 9%. By contrast, the average percent of the workforce that walks to work for the bottom 10 is only about 1%.
Worst of all, the pedestrian death rate is more than twice as high in the bottom 10 compared to those 10 shining at the higher end of the list for 2019. According to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, estimates show that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents across the nation in 2018 that also marked the highest number in three decades. Pedestrian deaths in the US have increased 41 percent since 2008 and now make up 16 percent of all traffic fatalities, the association said late February.