Implement proper management of curbside activities for rideshare services to maintain smooth traffic flow.
Lessons Learned from a modeling study of congestion and operational impacts of new curb use scenarios related to rideshare services in Lisbon’s Central Business District (CBD).
Made Public Date

Lisbon, Portugal


The Shared-Use City: Managing the Curb


In addition to the competing activities that occur along city streets now, increased levels of shared mobility, as well as urban logistics and increases in single parcel deliveries, are adding to curbside congestion. As congestion moves increasingly from the street to the curb, cities are considering how to dynamically manage these spaces over the course of the day to maintain smooth traffic flow. To determine how increased levels of shared mobility services impact curbside activity and traffic congestion, different consumer rideshare adoption scenarios were assessed with and without managed curbside space. Data extracted from the adoption scenarios provided an insight into what transitioning to new mobility services may look like.

Lessons Learned

The following specific actions are recommended to facilitate ride service deployment and management in cities:

Establish a system of street designations according to their primary purpose

  • Arrangements for curb access will range from no-stopping zones to residential on-street parking. Policy towards access for shared ride services will vary with location. Identifying and categorizing road sections by primary purpose will greatly facilitate policy-making on curb access management.

Anticipate and plan for the revenue impacts of shifting curb use from car parking to passenger pick up and drop off.

  • The curb of the future may be used quite differently than today. Changes in curb use will initially be localized, but if they gain traction, the knock-on effects are likely to be significant. One of the impacts will be on revenues from car parking which can constitute important sums of money for a city. Public authorities should anticipate this shift, assess whether they wish to price curb usage, and decide which instruments they will use. These instruments have yet to be developed in many cases. Pricing curb use can help cities retain the ability to manage traffic and transport demand by replacing parking pricing mechanisms.

Make room for ride services at the curb where this fits strategic priorities

  • A pressing question for many cities is whether they should make room for ride services at the curb. In most cities, the answer is yes. However, cities should move forward with such changes based on a broader strategic re-assessment of the priorities regarding access and use shared public assets, including streets and curbs, they wish to give to different modes.

Build on or create adjudication bodies to manage diverse demand for curb space in flexible ways and ultimately in real time

  • New uses of curb space should involve broad stakeholder consultation with adapted processes. It should also be accompanied by bodies that are empowered to allocate this space with great degrees of flexibility – eventually in real time and automatically. Institutional experience and public consultation processes employed for parking management and street design should be leveraged where they are already in place. Early pilots give some useful indications of how to manage this process.

Help develop common standards for encoding information about curb use

  • It is imperative to digitize knowledge about streets and curbs. Such regularly updated inventories should be accessible for public as well as private actors. They would allow the rapid and automatic integration of curb and street use rules directly into third-party apps and algorithms by making regulatory intent available directly in machine-readable language. Common referencing standards for curb data would enable detailed knowledge of curb use rules and facilitate their monitoring.

Rethink streets and their curbs as flexible, self-adjusting spaces and plan accordingly

  • With new technologies, new rules and new use cases, curbs are no longer static, inflexible installations. Instead, curb use will resemble dynamic, highly flexible, self-solving puzzles. The move from a "parking city" to a "pick-up and drop-off city" is only one part of a broader shift to re-think and manage streets and curbs as flexible-use and self-adjusting spaces. This will require changes in how these spaces are designed, regulated, monitored and priced.

Manage curb space dynamically so it adapts to different uses and users

  • The flexible allocation of curb space for different uses over the course of the day is not in itself new. Flexibility targeting new mobility services specifically is much less common, however. Current live trials and the results of our modelling exercise, suggests this is likely to change. Technology will bring flexible use of space to the curb and help manage it. Over the longer term, curb and streets should be designed for such dynamic and flexible use.

Establish effective tracking and monitoring of overall transport activity, including ride services.

  • Licensing of operations for public transport and ride services, including taxis, should be contingent of licensees providing sufficient data or trusted insight so as to monitor the impact of these services on public policy objectives. This should extend to all registered and licensed transport operators, including public transport, taxis, ride services and freight delivery.