The transportation ecosystem is evolving, with a rapidly increasing array of new mobility and delivery options offered by public and private entities. These new alternatives include ridehailing services (or transportation network companies (TNCs); organized vehicle sharing of cars, shuttles, and micromobility; delivery drones; and connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). In urban locations, these current and anticipated innovations coincide with existing transit operations, privately owned and operated automobiles, traditional taxi services, freight and parcel deliveries, and pedestrians and other non-motorized users. This creates increased demand for space at the curb where passengers are picked up and dropped off, shared and private vehicles are stored, freight and parcels are loaded or delivered, and users transfer between travel modes. These curbside activities impact sidewalk users and the flow of traffic in travel lanes. Further, these activities are dynamic, with high variability in the level and type of activity at different times. This complex environment is often managed through diverse policies and seemingly conflicting regulations that are communicated with signage and markings that can be confusing to users.
An increasing number of jurisdictions are seeking to better manage curbside activity using dynamic curbside management. This approach allocates curbside space as a resource in response to real-time demand to improve operations for all users of the curbside and the rest of the public right of way, including adjacent travel lanes and sidewalks. A dynamic curbside management program can support goals for multimodal mobility, safety, congestion management, travel time reliability (including for transit), and equitable access. Common program elements include:
- Pricing: usually variable in response to the dynamic nature of demand (e.g., smart meters);
- Regulating use: specific uses of the curb are permitted at certain times (e.g., transit use during morning and afternoon commute times, with midday parcel drop-off and pickup); and
- Permitting access: allowing access to the curbside only for specified operators (e.g., freight loading license, shared vehicle storage for specific operators).
The objective of this research was to develop a guide for state, regional, and local transportation agencies on developing and implementing a dynamic curbside management program. The guide draws from current and emerging practice to define and describe policies, mechanisms, and data considerations for dynamically pricing, regulating, and permitting curbside activity. The guide addresses current and emerging mobility solutions and technologies to prepare transportation agencies for future challenges at the curb.