9 Aug 18

Smart Parking on the Curbside

Along with changing mobility, road use is about to change is as well. Smart traffic management is one of the solutions, curbside management takes it further.

A city’s curbside has multiple functions, from accommodating loading and unloading, over facilitating public transport, to various parking purposes (from bikes to cars and mobile vendors). Smart curbside management can enhance a city’s mobility and economic activities.

Transit over Car

Whereas cars used to have the dominant role on the street, bus lanes, bikeways, freight loading zones, and even public space, have taken over free parking. In Seattle, for example, rather than prioritising the car in curbside design, transit stops, transit lanes and bikeways are assigned first, followed by bike share stations and commercial loading zones. The remainder of the curb is dedicated to valuable public space, such as stormwater infrastructure and pick-up and drop-off areas.

Time over distance

Not all functions of the curbside can be fulfilled in front of the door. An increased distance to a loading zone can be compensated by allowing a longer loading time, which can be extended and be available at better rates during off-hours. The same strategy can be used for parking spots by lowering the rates of the spots which are off the main street. As a result, the curb on the main street can be reserved for short-term use, increasing circulation and transit and reducing congestion.

Freight over Curb

Dedicated freight loading zones, in addition to conventional commercial loading zones, can help to walk the last mile. This will avoid double parking, resulting in decreased traffic and transit blockages. Additionally, wider bikeways can boost freight deliveries by (cargo) bikes.

Availability over Demand

Smart meters, signage and smart phone applications, and even real-time information, can be used to adjust time limits, and rates according to the availability and demand over the course of a day. Leaving at least one parking spot available in the vicinity of a commercial hub, for example, can  decrease the miles driven around on the look-out for an empty parking spot. 

Gain over loss 

Curbside management can compensate the loss of parking spaces by optimising all curbside functions. Moreover, due to the changing mobility offer, such as the introduction of ride hailing and automated vehicles, these functions will change over time, increasing the need of curbside management.

Authored by: Fien Van den steen