Digitising the kerb opens the door for more dynamic regulations and new approaches to kerb-usage fees that could enable more goal-driven management strategies.
City-led open-source organisation, the Open Mobility Foundation (OMF), has announced the formation of its first-ever Kerb Management Working Group to accelerate kerbside innovation and to help cities better manage their streets.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a surge in food and e-commerce deliveries and the need for outdoor space to accommodate dining, socially distanced travel, as well as other activities. These phenomena have come together to place “unique demands” on urban kerb space, and kerb demand is at an “all-time high”, OMF reports.
Across the US, cities have stepped up to manage public spaces and meet the evolving needs of residents. And, while many have made progress in digitising their kerb and other physical assets, technology and data offer new tools to proactively manage kerbs and sidewalks, and in doing so deliver more public value from this scarce resource.
According to OMF, where signs and paint and the right-of-way communicate city regulations, a digital index or map can provide a digital mechanism for communicating regulations for kerb use to fleet operators, delivery services, and navigation apps.
Digitising the kerb opens the door for more dynamic regulations and new approaches to kerb-usage fees that could enable more goal-driven management strategies, the organisation said.
“This data will only get more important for cities to collect and understand as they look to kerbs to meet communities’ changing needs”
Comprising a pool of mobility experts like Waymo, Ford AV and Coord, the Kerb Management Working Group will share data and common data specifications that aim to will act as starting points for city and private-sector leaders and members of the public embarking on an open, participatory standards creation process.
Writing in a blog post about the launch of the working group, Jacob Baskin, CTO and co-founder of , kerb management company Coord, emphasised the multiple layers of kerb data cities need, from assets (physical things in the world such as signs, hydrants, bike racks, kerb cuts) to regulations (what you can do on a given kerb at a given time) to occupancy (how the kerb is actually being used).
“This data will only get more important for cities to collect and understand as they look to kerbs to meet communities’ changing needs – from growing delivery, ride-hail and shared micromobility activity, to sustainable transit such as buses and bikes, to recreation and commercial activity,” he said.
“We are confident that this initiative will accelerate cities’ efforts to align kerb space regulations with community priorities and to more dynamically manage access to their kerb space.”
Standardised application programming interfaces (APIs) can enable new approaches to kerb management, such as:
The Kerb Management Working Group plans to move forward in two major phases: discovery and implementation. During the discovery phase, the working group will review kerb management priorities and assess the potential for partnership with other organisations and related projects. Coord and the SharedStreets KerbLR project have agreed to present their work for discussion.
“This initiative will accelerate cities’ efforts to align kerb space regulations with community priorities and to more dynamically manage access to their kerb space”
During the implementation phase, the working group will apply the OMF’s open-source development model to bring together public and private sector organisations to create and release data specifications for kerb management.
The group will be managed and directed by a steering committee made up of OMF member organisations, including: the Los Angeles Department of Transportation; City of Minneapolis; San Diego Association of Governments; San Francisco MTA; City of San Jose; Seattle Department of Transportation as well as several private sector members of the OMF including Automotus, Coord, Ford AV, and Waymo.
You might also like: