Seeing we are having a little February thaw, my mind is starting to think about getting out and about - on foot.
I got to reading an article by Maria Colenso. "What's a walk score?." 10 December 2008. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/walk-score.htm> 09 February 2009.
Apparently using Google maps and a special algorithm a numeric rating can be determined for a neighborhood to tell you the walkability to such thing as stores, restaurants, and whatever. My address gives a value of 78 out of 100 which is supposed to be pretty good.
You can do the calculation for any address - I just put in the street address and zip code and it worked great. The url of the site is: http://www.walkscore.com/
It is anything but perfect, of course. It depends on the accuracy and completeness of the information Google Maps has but you can also update the information yourself. Generally it gives a higher rating for nearer locations and restricts itself to less than a mile - reasonable for walking - about 2000 steps.
All-in-all it is a very interesting concept. For instance: when considering purchasing a house it might be interesting to check its walkscore - especially in view of how terrible it is in some areas getting anywhere except by car.
The site has ratings for various areas. It might be interesting to check others.