Walkscore returns; bigger and better. Where does your city rank?

You might remember the online tool Walk Score that debuted to rave reviews last year and was immediately all over the web. (It was one of our first blog entries last year). It became extremely popular, and was responsible, at least by some measure, for how popular the term “walkability” became over the course of the last year. It helped put a measure and a term to what people were seeking out in unprecedented numbers: Walkable, convenient housing close to their jobs and daily needs.

A few enterprising Realtors even used their Walk Score to promote their new developments.

Well, it’s back, and we expect it to be all over the news today, but there’s a slight twist: They’ve gone back and ranked the overall walkability of 2,508 neighborhoods in America’s 40 biggest cities.

So now, instead of just entering your address and finding your personal Walk Score, now you can take a look at the 40 most walkable cities in America, and if you live in one of them, you can drill down and even see neighborhood by neighborhood rankings.

Walkscore RankingsWalk Score Redux

It doesn’t end there, though.

They’ve got some great features and detailed information showing what makes a place walkable, why some are more walkable than others, and even highlighted a few walking oases in the midst of automobile-centric cities with low overall Walk Scores.

But there’s one addition we’re very excited about:

The creators of Walk Score aren’t content to just measure walkability, they want to improve America’s Walk Score. They’ve included an online petition that you can sign to indicate your support for more public transportation, bike facilities, and land use that promotes more walkability through the federal transportation bill that will be reauthorized in 2009.

Through a new coalition of which Smart Growth America is a core member, we’ve partnered with the creators of Walk Score to gather signatures of the thousands of people nationwide who want something different than unwalkable cities, continued oil dependence, and more roads that we can’t even afford the gas to drive on:

Getting a great Walk Score doesn’t happen by chance. Walkable neighborhoods result from smart policy decisions that allocate our tax dollars and set the rules for development. Unfortunately, current federal rules and funding priorities make it difficult for communities to create walkable neighborhoods.

We expect to back today with a roundup of some of the news coverage, but keep your eyes peeled. See a story we don’t have? Let us know in the comments below.

In the meanwhile, head over to Walk Score, check out the rankings, and then go visit the brand new Transportation for America website and join the campaign.