UPDATE, June 29, 2020: The City of Columbus, OH announced Monday that its eight Loading Management Zones (LMZ), implemented through a partnership with curb management platform curbFlow, were used about 19,000 times during a six-month pilot that concluded in May.
Approximately 2,400 commercial and on-demand delivery drivers registered to use the eight LMZs, and the partners said driver satisfaction was "overwhelmingly high" as they enabled quicker pick-ups and drop-offs, and cut down on double and illegal parking.
CurbFlow said it recommended Columbus use a citywide Digital Loading Zone (DLZ) to digitize loading and permitting. City officials said they are considering their options.
- Columbus, OH introduced a new curbside management pilot program in partnership with mobility company curbFlow in a bid to address demand for deliveries and ride-hailing pick-ups and drop-offs.
- The 12-month pilot program will begin Nov. 18 at nine locations in the city's downtown area and along one of its major commercial corridors. Columbus' Division of Parking Services is the lead city agency on the partnership.
- Under the partnership, clearly marked Loading Management Zones (LMZs) will be added for use by commercial vehicles and private vehicles doing commercial work, like being used for ride-hailing. Drivers will use an app to reserve and check in and out of an LMZ.
As cities wrestle with an increase in mobility options, ride-hailing and deliveries, curbside management has become one of the most pressing issues they face. It can be a source of anxiety for many people in a city, from delivery and ride-hailing drivers who often feel forced to double park, to bicyclists and pedestrians who are obstructed by vehicles using bike lanes or crosswalks as temporary stopping areas.
It has been the cornerstone of other partnerships between cities and businesses. In Uber's collaboration with Cincinnati, for instance, it commissioned a curbside study and made a series of recommendations, including freeing up space by removing on-street parking and replacing it with a passenger pick-up and drop-off area, better enforcing loading zones and improving wayfinding and traffic control for motorists.
CurbFlow is positioning itself as a key partner for cities as they forge a path forward. The company partnered with Washington, DC earlier this year to research and analyze demand at nine locations where commercial deliveries often result in double parking. Company analysts collected data on the 12-week pilot as part of a study to determine curb space safety, utilization, productivity and equitable access.
A curbFlow spokeswoman told Smart Cities Dive in an email that results are expected to be released soon.
City leaders are also hopeful that curbside management can have other benefits like efficiency savings. In a statement, Jennifer Gallagher, director of the Columbus Department of Public Service said the pilot will "make our streets safer and air cleaner for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers."