Gaining Insights from Analyzing Curbside Supply

Joven Chew
November 9, 2021

With the densification of cities causing greater use of curb space for pick-ups, drop-offs, and deliveries, as well as a push from people demanding more space in the public realm, the usage of the curbside has been more important and in demand than ever. Because of this, cities have to make difficult decisions when managing the best use of their curbside. Fortunately, there is an emerging trend in digitizing curbside inventories, providing cities with information in an easy-to-read format, so they can make data-driven decisions to accommodate different needs.

So, what exactly are these decisions and how can curbside supply be helpful? Well firstly, what exactly is curbside supply? Similar to how a building has a specific number of units available, or a parking lot has a set limit of parking spaces, curbside supply is the capacity at the curbside and encompasses the number of spaces for each type of regulation. In this article, we’ll cover how municipalities can use this supply to understand the potential of the curbside to generate revenue, allocate spaces for different uses more efficiently, and communicate better with the public, all components resulting in a better city space.

Maximize Potential Value of The Curb

How many parking spaces do we have around a tourist attraction at 3pm on Wednesday? How much would be the expected revenue in that location? These might be some of the more common questions that municipalities have. With curbside information displayed in a more understandable format, city staff can quickly identify parking supply available at a selected location on a specific date, day of the week, and time period. Since peak demand in City A might be different from City B, filtering by time and date can help best reflect the needs required by municipalities.

By using CurbIQ’s Curb Analyzer, in just a few clicks users are able to see the full picture of curbside supply on any zone generated by them. In one glance, users would be able to know the number of spaces for different regulation types for any time range selected. The dropdowns also let a user see the curbside’s potential revenue, GHG emissions, and number of users. With this information, a municipal staff can make regulation changes that maximize potential of the curbside. Maximizing revenue around a tourist attraction, minimizing emissions in a carbon neutral zone, or increasing users on a busy street are all examples of what can be done when curbside supply is available. In the example below, users can quickly see the supply of paid parking around an analysis zone, and can determine ways to maximize different metrics of the curb.

Using the filters on Curb Analyzer’s Dashboard View

In addition, if the city also had revenue data, they could see the direct impact of changes they made on the various metrics noted above. The revenue data falls under the demand side of things and will be discussed at a greater length in another article. =)

Allocate Curb Space More Equitably

Accessibility and equity are two important aspects that many cities are trying to achieve. But how can they do it in terms of curbside usage? Is there at least one accessible parking every 500 meters in this location? Is there enough on street parking dedicated to residents with permits in a neighbourhood or is it all paid parking? Do delivery personnel have a place to park when delivering parcels to a high-density residential area?

With better understanding of existing supply, users would be able to quickly identify who has access to the curb and who does not. Having such knowledge as well as understanding the needs of the people in that area, municipalities are then able to identify the gaps between supply and demand. This would allow them to allocate curb space more equitably to serve all different curb space users, be it food delivery personnel, cyclists, TNC passengers, or delivery trucks. Analytics tools can provide a solution, by letting users quickly see the amount or percentage of a certain regulation type within a certain distance.

Creating an analysis zone on Curb Analyzer

Improve Communication

There will always be tradeoffs when implementing changes in a city, and the curbside is no exception. We have already discussed ways to effectively create these curb regulation changes, but cities often struggle to win over the public who are affected by these changes, regardless if they are permanent or temporary. For example, shops and restaurants typically don’t like when they lose parking nearby, and residents usually are against free parking outside their house converting to paid parking. However, if the city can provide logical workarounds for parking alternatives, this can help make the transition easier and smoother. By showing proof of sufficient curbside space in an area to relevant stakeholders, they can confidently make statements like “even though we are removing 5 parking spaces here, you still have 20 spaces within 100 meters from your restaurant.”

When this information is communicated effectively, the public is more likely to believe that they do, in fact, still have other options around them – a simple map or chart can speak a thousand words.

What’s Next?

The power of curbside data is enormous but putting this information to use is what brings out its value. Many municipalities already have curbside data in useful formats that can help generate a full curbside supply for a city. Never underestimate what a little data can do. Even supply data for just a few blocks or a particular location can help draw meaningful insights.

CurbIQ has the tools to complete these analyses, draw useful conclusions and visualize them on a user-friendly dashboard to help with recommendations! We are eager to help cities to analyze their data but feel like they do not have the tools to do it. Together, we can help make the curbside more efficient, accessible and equitable for all users!

Joven Chew
Joven is a Curbside Mobility Analyst at Arcadis IBI Group who has a passion for cities and sustainable mobility. Her experience working with data, from data ingestion to data analytics and visualization, aligns with Arcadis IBI Group's efforts in utilizing data to provide meaningful insights and digitizing curbside to open up greater future possibilities.
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