Sunday, April 27, 2008

Walk It Baby

As the environmental consequences of driving cars become ever more clear, consumers are increasingly aware of the benefits of alternative modes of transportation. Walkit is a website that promotes the power of walking as a healthier way to get around.

Walkit's goal is to help consumers make more informed decisions about whether they choose to walk for all, or part, of any given journey. The UK-based site currently offers walking routes for London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Newcastle/Gateshead, and plans to cover all the UK's major cities by the end of this year. Users looking for walking routes simply enter their starting location and desired destination, along with whether they prefer the most direct route or the least busy one; there's also an option to request a route "via" some other spot along the way. Thanks to a feature just added earlier this month, users going through inner London can request "fresh air" routes with the lowest pollution as well. Either way, Walkit then supplies the user with a detailed map and written directions, including distance, walking time, the number of calories burned and the carbon dioxide avoided by walking rather than riding in a car, taxi or bus.

Walkit first launched in London in late 2006, and over the course of 2007 it received more than 440,000 visits and generated nearly 670,000 walking routes. Glasgow is reportedly next on its list, and discussions are apparently also under way across the Atlantic in Boston. The site is supported by ads and sponsorships, including on-map icons and store locators.

It's pretty safe to say demand will only increase for alternative ways to get around, and there's no cheaper alternative than walking. Why not help consumers in a city near you rediscover the power of their own two feet?

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