A Discussion About Curb Management
By Benito Pérez
Not since the 1930s has curbside management (formerly known as on-street parking) received so much attention among the transportation industry (and the public!). With cities far and wide densifying and becoming the centers of population activity, city transportation officials are looking at ways to optimize not only multi-modal mobility (via increased diverse transportation investments), but also multi-modal accessibility. Regardless of mode, both people and goods meet on the city’s curb. Left unchecked, cities face ramifications from the obvious (congestion, safety implications) to the abstract (vulnerabilities to climate change, health expectancies). It becomes imperative for municipalities, large and small, to come to terms with the need for multi-modal curbside management.
However, what is curbside management? Depending on the perspective, the term can have varying definitions. Common between them is that curbside management involves the nexus point between the roadway and the pedestrian realm. It is in this space where people and goods transact. In older cities, regulations were enacted to manage horses and carriage access and the maintenance of that nexus space (see Washington, D.C.’s Parking Acts from the late 19th century). In the early 20th century after the advent of the automobile, technology innovation to manage the curbside led to the advent of the parking meter in 1935 and its subsequent proliferation in cities far and wide since then.
Today, technology disruptions in mobility have led to the rise of transportation network companies, connected/autonomous vehicles, expansion of mass transportation services, and on-demand delivery (as a result of on-line commerce). Because of this disruption paired with densifying cities, the curbside demand has diversified and intensified. Gone are the days of facilitating the curb for vehicle storage. Today is the day to facilitate the optimization of people and goods movement.
The IPMI Research & Innovation Task Force is offering a blog post series to help demystify the approach to implementing curb lane management strategies for the industry. The blog series will present a common model for implementing curb management:
Benito Pérez is curbside management operations planning manager at the District Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., and a member of IPMI’s Research & Innovation Task Force.