I really love looking at real estate! I’ve spent hours poring over Realtor.com listings looking for just the right mix of historic charm and modern convenience. Aside from hardwood floors and a decent kitchen, one of my first tests for a suitable home is to check the proximity of the bus line. Since the Triangle’s bus routes are on Google Maps now, I use Google directions to get an idea about my new commute. Fortunately for people looking for rental homes, WalkScore has made it just a bit easier to find transit-accessible housing.
To search for an apartment based on commute time, you enter your work or school address, the length of your desired commute, and the mode you’re interested in (you can choose public transit, drive, bike, or walk). I searched for housing within a 20 minute bus ride to UNC Hospitals (101 Manning Dr) and got 200 hits. If you click on one of the properties you can access details including photos, a description, and a link to the listing on Craigslist. The “Commute” tab (at least in my test) shows a map of your bus route but doesn’t give you details about when and where the bus picks up. Walk Score indicated the apartment I clicked on was a 12 minute bus ride to 101 Manning Dr. Did my trusty trip planner confirm that estimate? It did! The property I selected was convenient to the A, NS, and T CH Transit lines and, according to Google, would only take between 9 and 16 minutes (depending on the bus line) to get to UNC Hospitals. Pretty cool!
While I was a bit disappointed by the lack of detail on the commute tab, as a search tool, I was impressed with the Commute Finder. It takes a lot of the guess work out of finding properties near bus lines. What about you? Has transit access ever factored into your decision about where to live? Would a tool like this one make a difference in your future choices?