Walking on a campus, regardless of if it is a university or college, private or public, often feels like a miniature, modern city. Everything you need is within a 15-minute walk: groceries, restaurants, entertainment, work or class, and residences. Campuses are also often located in or close to urban centres, so major transit connections and alternative mobility options crisscross the grounds. Different events are always taking place – from move in day, to parades and sporting events, resulting in closed roads, lots of traffic, and many infrequent visitors trying to find their way around. Many of these characteristics make campuses seem like a great candidate for utilizing CurbIQ – in fact, many of our past blog posts, from complete street transformations to flexible curb management, could have the word “city” replaced with “campus” and be equally relevant.
Curbside Management at the Campus Level
That being said, what exactly is happening at the curbside on campuses? As mentioned above, there is a lot going on. Road closures for events are frequent, with regular streets often being limited for pedestrian space, and high traffic due to being in dense areas. A wide range of users also appear at the curbside: students are less likely to own cars, resulting in more pickups and drop offs, micromobility use, as well as food deliveries for late night studying. Tourists and guests are also frequently visiting for open houses, presentations, and conferences, and there can be many unique vehicles for events, field trips, or accessibility purposes. Subsequently, CurbIQ can help manage these various use cases and users in a few ways:
As campuses are relatively small and compact, curbside data collection can be quick and thorough to rapidly digitize the curb inventory
A public facing map via Curb Viewer is a perfect way to communicate parking and mobility options to newcomers on campus
Having a clear understanding of supply (and demand where possible) through Curb Analyzer dashboards can help inform locations for guest parking, pick-up/drop-off (PUDO) zones, or designated loading and bike storage spaces both on- and off-street
Homecoming event or concrete canoe race? Curb Manager can let campus staff effectively communicate changes to the various staff, delivery drivers, and visitors before they show up at the ‘Road Closed’ sign
In an ideal world, campuses could implement changes themselves, but they often don’t manage the roads going through their premises. CurbIQ can provide a platform to communicate changes to cities to help make improvements to benefit all parties – allowing cities to practice better curb space management
Academic Research and CurbIQ
The above examples are more focused on campus planners and visitors, however there is also potential to use CurbIQ in academia. As the curb space becomes more relevant, research and interest into the realm of curbside management will likely follow (or even precede the industry). CurbIQ has heard from universities looking into everything from mapping sidewalks for robots to tracking curbside emissions through sensors. CurbIQ can complement this work by providing a platform to visualize and analyze this data to help academics focus on the more meaningful components of their research.
Use Case: George Washington University
The CurbIQ team had the opportunity to partner with Forward Progress and use the CurbIQ platform on a campus recently at George Washington University in Washington, DC. As part of a capstone project, a group of fourth year geography students collected curbside data using Curb Converter processes around their campus. They were able to see how a digital curbside inventory is created and visualize the data on Curb Viewer. Some future capstone projects are currently in the works with plans to analyze the data and complete an informal parking study, with the ultimate goal of providing recommendations to the university on how to improve the curbside.
Improving Campus Curbs
Universities and colleges are often at the forefront of innovation and progress, and with the curbside it is no different! CurbIQ can help institutions modernize their curb and make the most use of an already dynamic, scarce space on campus. Our recent acquisition, HotSpot, also operates on many campuses, giving us the opportunity to pull in demand data for better analysis and recommendations. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to see your campus’ curb space become more innovative, regardless of if you are a student, professor, or campus planner.
Jacob’s passions for big cities, systems technology, and sustainable mobility align with the work he is involved with as a Transportation EIT at IBI Group. Jacob brings his combination of systems design experience, policy background, and data analytics perspective to help integrate many of IBI Group’s existing practices with the tech-based solutions they are pushing forward.