Curb management challenge launched as Covid bounce-back planning begins

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Curb management company Coord has announced the launch of its second annual Digital Curb Challenge: the Bounce Back Better Edition. Cities and other curb managers, such as universities and airports, across North America can apply to partner with Coord to undertake a free curb space management pilot program to better manage loading in their cities.

Covid-19 has put unprecedented pressure on curb space as active travel increases and delivery activity skyrockets, creating a need to ensure goods loading can still occur safely and efficiently. The Digital Curb Challenge 2021 launches in this unique context, seeking to enable cities and other curb managers to enlist new strategies and technologies that not only help them to recover today, but that also provide a foundation for success for years to come.

With Smart Zones, Coord puts the city at the forefront of curb management programs and empowers them with the tools needed to provide delivery and service vehicle drivers with the information and incentives to load in locations where it is safe and permitted.

Today, Smart Zones allow commercial drivers to use a mobile app to see real-time Smart Zone locations and availability. When they’re nearing their destinations, drivers can hold a Smart Zone, paying for space in-app when they arrive. This provides drivers with advanced curb intelligence they can use to navigate directly to available space, reducing illegal parking and circling. Smart Zones improve the coordination, safety and convenience of loading in cities while offering a more streamlined experience for drivers, reducing the incidence of safety and congestion hazards and parking citations.

“Smart Zones are very inexpensive to implement, but can improve safety and access for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to local businesses,” says Dawn Miller VP of policy and partnerships at Coord. “Because fleets pay to use Smart Zones, they actually generate new avenues for revenue along with mobility benefits. We have already seen successes in cities like Omaha, NE and Aspen, CO following our inaugural Digital Curb Challenge, and we look forward to partnering with new cities as they look to bounce back better.”

Cities or organizations selected for the Digital Curb Challenge will have free access to Coord’s full suite of curb management tools for the duration of the partnership and the opportunity to work closely with Coord experts to develop an effective, scalable pilot program to be deployed in 2021.

In the first Digital Curb Challenge, Coord partnered with Aspen, Nashville, Omaha and West Palm Beach to design and deploy Smart Zone programs to better manage commercial loading in their cities. More than 30 fleets, including a mix of local and regional businesses and national brands such as US Foods, FedEx, Frito Lay, Sysco and UNFI, are already using Smart Zones in these cities.

This year, Coord is looking for cities to take Smart Zones to the next level by exploring one or several of these features:

  • Variable pricing to use different pricing for different times of day or different Smart Zones. This can help manage demand and improve availability for drivers, shifting more loading activity to times when it works well for the neighborhood (e.g., early mornings or overnight) or across more zones.

  • Exploring greater automation, booking drivers automatically into the best available Smart Zone near their destinations.

  • Deploying Smart Zones in public spaces beyond the curb, such as alleyways.

  • Exploring Smart Zones for recurring or predictable uses of public space, such as charter buses, intercity buses, or mobile vending.

  • Applying Smart Zones in a unique neighborhood, downtown or other commercial setting.

  • New ideas from cities to address unique and pressing local challenges

Applications can be submitted at coord.com/digital-curb-challenge and are open until February 15, 2021.

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About Author

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).