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Multi-city platform aims to unlock the kerb

With kerbside management central to many smart mobility options, Coord is making standardised kerb data publicly available through an open database licence.

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Santa Monica: one of the cities in which the Open Curbs initiative is launching
Santa Monica: one of the cities in which the Open Curbs initiative is launching

Coord has announced it is making kerb data publicly available through a new open access platform to help users better understand city accessibility.

 

The start-up, which is backed by Sidewalk Labs, claims Open Curbs is the first open and multi-city platform that makes standardised kerb data publicly available through an open database licence.

 

More than 100 cities supported by 2022

 

Target groups for the platform include city agencies, engineering firms, mobility providers and community groups. Coord’s goal is to support more than 100 cities across the globe by 2022.

 

This latest move by Coord also serves to highlight the intense focus that the kerbside is attracting because of its growing importance in the mobility industry in areas such as ride-hailing, scooter- and bike-sharing, as well as delivery.

 

Last October, Ford, Uber and Lyft pledged to share data to help manage kerb space and in December, Lime agreed to share GPS data of car-sharing vehicles through the Populus platform to improve use of city kerbs in Seattle.

 

As Coord CEO Stephen Smyth points out in a blog post, kerbs are no longer used for just parking: "They’re now delivery hot spots, bike-share or scooter parking and ride-hail pick up zones.

 

"With the growth of new mobility options, comes an emerging need for cities, mobility operators, commuters and residents to find new ways for increasing numbers of transportation options to coexist in already crowded roads, kerbs and sidewalks."

“Having a complete picture of the current designations of our district’s kerbs helps us prepare for the future that is already here”

This means better integrating mobility options into existing transit systems and identifying new avenues for revenue as traditional transportation methods change, said Coord.

 

But before cities can “evolve” the kerb, they have to be able to manage it – everything from parking signs, loading zones, fire hydrants, and special access restrictions.

 

According to Coord, most cities do not have a public digital record of what assets are on their kerbs, let alone what the corresponding regulations are at any given time or place. And if they do, the functionality and format of kerb data varies from city to city.

 

Public kerb data source

 

The aim of the platform is to be a public kerb data source for city administrators, GIS analysts, transportation planners, software engineers, researchers and community leaders, to easily access and share standardised baseline kerb data from a single place.

 

It builds on the company’s Surveyor app, released last year, which has been used to digitise the kerbs of multiple cities across the US, while continuing to expand to new cities.

 

The data published in Open Curbs includes locations and descriptions of assets such as fire hydrants, parking signs, kerb markings and other features.

" [There is] an emerging need for cities, mobility operators, commuters and residents to find new ways for increasing numbers of transportation options to coexist"

Coord said initially this data comes from the collections created with the Surveyor augmented reality app, although it plans to support other kerb asset data sources on the platform in the future.

 

This kerb asset data is used by Coord to derive kerb regulation data, which is then distributed via the Curbs API and other methods to customers, typically fleet operators.

 

The Open Curbs initiative is launching with kerb data for neighbourhoods in:

  • Santa Monica (collected by Downtown Santa Monica business improvement district)

  • Denver (collected by engineering firm, HDR)

  • Paris (collected bymobility consultancy, Autonomy)

  • Milan (collected by engineerig firm, Systematica)

  • Los Angeles (collected by Coord)

  • San Francisco (collected by Coord).

“Having a complete picture of the current designations of our district’s kerbs helps us prepare for the future that is already here,” said Hector Soliman-Valdez, mobility manager at Downtown Santa Monica.

 

“By this I mean the immense pressure that we have to convert our kerbs into dynamic spaces that serve multiple uses at different times of the day.

 

"With this data in hand we can better engage TNCs, delivery companies and others to reduce their impact on our transportation network all the while increasing their efficiency.”

 

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