US property portal Redfin has introduced Opportunity Score, a rating system from zero to 100 which tells you how easy it is to get from your job without a car.
Built in partnership with the White House Opportunity Project, Opportunity Score is an online tool that helps Americans find homes within a 30-minute car-free commute to nearby jobs.
Opportunity Score is powered by the Walk Score Travel Time API, jobs data from the US Department of Commerce, population data from the US Census and housing data from the Redfin Estimate and Walk Score rentals.
Available for millions of addresses in more than 350 US cities, the scores also consider the local population to reflect the fact that places with more people likely have more competition for local jobs.
By way of example, Redfin shows two addresses, one is in downtown San Francisco and the other in Daly City . They both have an Opportunity Score of 100.
"That means there are a lot of jobs paying at least $40,000 that are accessible in 30 minutes without a car, even when adjusting for all the competing workers in the greater area," writes Redfin Data Scientist Eric Scharnhorst.
"But what about home prices? The right half of the Opportunity Score page summarizes prices of homes for sale and for rent near an address."
In this example, two-bedroom homes near the downtown San Francisco address are selling for around $1 million and two-bedroom rentals are about $4,600 a month.
Rental prices near the Daly City BART station are still high, but two-bedroom homes are listed for around $645,000.
"That’s a whopping 35 per cent saving, and the employment access is still plentiful. The family can use the tool to weigh the factors that are most important for them and their lifestyle—transit access, job opportunity and affordability," Scharnhorst says.
But not all addresses are connected to a lot of jobs by public transit. Scharnhorst illustrates with a third address in Shaker Heights near Cleveland, Ohio which scores just 29.
"Most of the jobs in the Cleveland area are out of range in 30 minutes by transit," Scharnhorst says.
"Are we suggesting this is a bad place to live? No way.
"The homes in this area have luxurious walk-in closets, high-end kitchens and fragrant landscaping. The Opportunity Score of 29 just means that most people will need a car to get to work, and getting to work will probably take longer than 30 minutes."
San Jose in California and Milwaukee in Wisconsin are the two top Opportunity Scorers rating 70 and 63 respectively.
San Jose has a population of close to 1.8 million and 78 per cent of jobs in the region pay $40,000 or more. Meanwhile Milwaukee has a population of 1.2 million with 75 per cent of jobs paying $40,000 or more.