How CurbIQ helped IBI Group with CaféTO

Peter Richards
June 10, 2021

The restaurant industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those remaining in business have had to adapt their model and find creative ways to operate. One solution has been the expansion of dining areas onto the public right-of-way. While curbside patios existed before COVID-19, the implementation of hundreds, if not thousands, in such a short amount of time is unprecedented.

In the summer of 2020, The City of Toronto implemented CaféTO, its pandemic response program designed to help the restaurant industry expand its outdoor dining capacity through patios. The city retained IBI Group for this initiative which supported 800 restaurants.

As Toronto prepared for another season of CaféTO, I sat down with Trevor McIntyre, Global Director, Placemaking and International at IBI Group, to discuss the project, how CurbIQ helped his team save time, and what the future holds for the curbside.

The Challenge

The IBI team needed to help answer questions such as: how many on-street parking spaces are being repurposed for patios? What other curbside regulations are in place at this location? Are the patios too close to fire hydrants or transit stops? Is the adjacent speed limit acceptable? However, due to stay-at-home orders, the team had challenges conducting typical site visits to confirm existing conditions. Current online mapping services that provide panoramic street views lacked consistent, clear images of traffic signs and didn’t capture information such as speed limits, parking bylaws, and loading zones.

The Solution

The IBI team needed a single reliable source of curbside regulation and asset information. Enter CurbIQ. Made by the parking and curbside management experts at IBI Group, CurbIQ is a curbside management software solution that digitizes curbside regulations and transportation assets, and displays them on a web-based map, for instant access. These regulations and assets can be managed and analyzed, to quickly surface insights such as the number of on-street parking spaces on a given street or the specific parking restriction in place at 5:00 pm on a Friday.

Using an interactive map, the IBI team identified parking and loading restrictions, speed limits, fire hydrants, and more in real-time.

A built-in measurement tool helped verify that the patios would be an appropriate distance from intersections, transit stops, and fire hydrants according to city criteria. This information was then cross-referenced on detailed design drawings — providing the IBI team with a desktop tool to complete these essential tasks. Lastly, they could calculate the number of on-street parking spaces converting to patios using CurbIQ, minimizing field visits and guesswork, providing a quick and accurate solution.

Peter Richards
Peter Richards, P.Eng., is a Transportation Engineer with project experience ranging from parking strategies and policy to curbside management to traffic signal coordination and everything in-between. He is the Chair of the Parking Standing Committee at the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Pete is a co-creator of CurbIQ.
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