We know life would be better if we’d get off our butts and walk more. But when??? This map shows the health opportunities hidden in plain sight by mapping the calories hypothetically burned if we’d ditch the subway/Uber/hoverboard and walk.

During London’s tube strike, Transport for London created an alternative transit map that showed walk times between stations. The map was intended to help Londoners plan trips that might be interrupted by strike activity. But it also served as a great walking map to the city. Now Treated.com has calculated the caloric distance between New York City subway stops, translating walk times directly into calories burned. (The data is for a person who weighs the average American weight of 179 pounds, walking three miles per hour.)

There are already some great infrastructural nudges in our cities when it comes to encouraging people to hoof it. Excellent wayfinding signage that shows walk times in minutes instead of miles, for example, helps people understand distance in a way that makes them more likely to forego the car. There are maps on city streets that show everything that can be reached in 10 minutes on foot. And of course our phones will plot walking directions, if we ask them to, politely. But this kind of subway-like map, which already uses a visual language familiar to us, puts all the information where we can see and use it.


Of course, most transit-riding New Yorkers probably don’t need a walking nudge; they’re likely to get plenty of exercise navigating to and from the stations. But this shows just how easy one might replace that hour at the gym with a brisk stroll along the A train. Subway stops also serve as great landmarks in our cognitive maps of cities, and this way of translating the exact benefit you might get from walking, running, or biking makes the benefits even more clear, from a health standpoint. Next idea: An app that swaps the routes with fast food menu items you actually eat, so you know exactly how many stops you must skip to walk off that Cheesy Doritos Gordita Crunch Supreme.

[Treated.com via Gothamist]

Follow the author at @awalkerinLA