MONETIZING THE CURB IN THE AGE OF AUTOMATION

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Pandemic parklets, ride-hailing pick-up and drop-off, retail e-commerce deliveries – these are some of the new curbside pressures that 2020 has presented. How could regulating the curbside help manage these pressures and help towns and cities thrive? How can cities earn revenue from their curbside, both now and in the automated future? And what might pricing look like? How can a new ISO standard now under development help enable and smooth this change to realtime management of the curb and sidewalk, as automated vehicles and devices arrive? These and other key questions will be addressed in Harmonize Mobility’s expert web panel, ‘Monetizing the Curb in the Age of Automation’.

If you have questions about curbside management, you can reach out to our Covid-19 Taskforce for anything Pandemic related by sending an email to taskforce@adaml134.sg-host.com.

Monetizing the Curb in the Age of Automation

WEBINAR SUMMARY:

The panel consists of industry experts from North America, the EU and the UK, who share their thoughts on these vital issues facing city and town centres. Each expert presents a short presentation on town and city management, mobility and data management, growing shared mobility, and digitalized goods-delivery systems. Below is a brief summary on the topics presented in this webinar:

Bern Grush, Project Lead, ISO/TS4448 – Chief Innovation Officer and Founder, Harmonize Mobility

  • The variety of modes and uses and sheer numbers at the curb and sidewalk are growing and that’s even ignoring the current upset from the pandemic. It was already growing before and it will continue to grow; parking, cycling, e-commerce, scooter and even (temporarily) alfresco dining.
  • We are expecting automated vehicles to take over curb space too. Automation is expected to change how municipalities will monetize the current curbside. We might lose things like parking fees and fines and various forms of registrations and operating licenses. One assumption is that we might lose a lot of that over the next few years and so we need some kind of a structure to address that change in monetization.
  • We manage curb space today by mapping the curb (services), governing the curb (governance) and operating the curb (enforcement), which will change when automation is introduced. We will need more guidance and funding to make everything work smoothly in the future. A new ISO standard, now under development, will help enable and smooth this change to realtime management of the curb and sidewalk as automated vehicles and devices arrive.

Ojay McDonald, CEO at Association of Town and City Management, UK

In terms of use of curbside by vehicles, there has yet to be a lot of strategic planning in the UK and the new and current curbside trends have been superseded by:
  • Climate Change – energy companies are exploring ways to monetize the curb through EV charging
  • Industrial Revolution – Technology/Data companies, sometimes with the same infrastructure, are vying for the same space.
  • The Coronavirus – A lot of UK businesses are not viable if they can only trade within their own premises, so within the last few weeks businesses are now trading in outdoor space. The licenses for those businesses are much more cheaper than they originally were. Income will be generated, but municipalities may not be the ones to benefit from these funds.

Andrew Miller, Urbanist and Mobility Specialist, Former Mobility Lead, Sidewalk Labs

There is a direct relationship between the ability of people and goods to move freely within a city. Right now, we have competition between bike lanes, auto lanes, pedestrian space, but we also have to deal with parking and drop off spaces etc. It’s tricky to accommodate everyone, which is why cities regulate and charge for space.

Covid-19 has slowed down deployment of new vehicle technologies in the short term, but not in the long term.

Infrastructure is expensive, software is cheap. Moving things around in the physical space is expensive and disruptive in contrast to software and code. Add to this cloud commuting and cheap censors and processing, means it would be very simple to deploy cameras for monitoring and managing curbside activity.

Investing in curbside regulation now, shows that a city wants to invest in future economic prosperity, but a universal standard needs to be created to scale this up across many cities.

Sandra Phillips, Shared Mobility Architect, movmi

Shared mobility providers need access to curbside and cities have looked at five different areas to assist with this:

  • Collocating at mobility hubs – Often at no expense for shared mobility providers except for exchange of real-time data
  • Parking – Shared mobility increases commercial activity. Ride hail drop off and pick up are charged a curbside and congestion fee, but they are allowing discounts for electric and zero emission vehicles.
  • Sustainability – Madrid has had a restricted access zone since 2018 for vehicles. Meaning you are not allowed to enter that area with your own personal vehicle. Shared electric fleets are, so citizens now have access to over now 13,000 electric shared vehicles, from carshare to moped to kick scooters, to encourage a shift towards zero emissions.
  • Equity – Car shares that are parked downtown have more expensive parking rates than in areas which aren’t used as often, this can be seen in the city of Calgary.
  • Data sharing – Evo is working with the city of Vancouver to share real time data for fractional parking pricing.
To keep shared mobility providers in your city, pricing has to be financially viable in the long term. The curb should be used to drive other goals like sustainability and equity and not just used for monetary gain.

Simon Hayes, EU Market Development, Parkunload

Cities need to provide efficient curbsides. Only then will they bring value and therefore monetization. Key examples of cities effectively implementing curbside strategies include:

“Example one dates from 2015, when Barcelona’s municipal agent BSM won the 2015 EPA, that’s the European Parking Association Innovation Award for its area DUM project, which means Urban Goods Distribution, in Catalan. This replaced a cardboard disk system… leading to a range of operational improvements. The innovation was also about how the user community, the transport operators, were involved in the service deployment. The rules did not change. There was still up to 30 minutes free of charge for unloading on the street, in these loading zones, but the use of the app was made mandatory under the revised traffic ordinance bylaw.”
Another effective example is ‘DUMA’ from the city of Vic, 70 kilometers north of Barcelona, which was created to resolve the conflicting demands on the perimeter of the pedestrianized historic center. DUMA is an integral street management scheme and was established using a small team of civic wardens for enforcement. It is standalone and not part of an on-street parking contract. The penalty fine revenues within the first two months exceeded the costs of deploying the scheme and developing the scheme. Cases like these both show that digitalizing the curbside will improve levels of service for its users and therefore increase monetization in the long term.

If you have a direct question for the taskforce related to Covid-19 or wish to seek advice on managing your own operation, send an email with your question to taskforce@adaml134.sg-host.com. For more Covid-19 information and resources click here.

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