Robert Ferrin, Assistant Director, City of Columbus
How are the demands at the curb affecting your current operations? An increase in on-demand deliveries and passenger pick up and drop off activities is making us rethink how we allocate curb space, what technology we use, and how we define success. These new demands are significantly different than the demands we have been used to and the management strategies we’ve employed to meet those historical demands.
How are you and your team using technology, programs, and policies to address these effects? Our team is piloting new technology and adjusting policies and programs to provide for more flexible use of the curb lane. Whether it be testing on-demand reservation and monetization systems
or providing availability and location information on a digital platform, we understand innovation is required to maintain access to the curb. Our team has developed an RFP to allow the market to provide us scalable solutions to dynamically manage the curb. We are creating flexible policies to be more nimble in how we allocate curb space, and working with delivery companies to better understand their needs for curb space.
Any advice for other municipalities as they tackle similar challenges? Be open to new ideas and piloting new concepts. Break out of the “this is how it’s always been done” mold and search out creative ways to dynamically manage the curb. The effects of COVID have impacted parking demand and provided municipal operators a unique opportunity to rethink how curb space is allocated for the highest and best public use.
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What’s Next Our vision and perspective on the curb will continue to evolve—to stay up to date on how that’s changing and what’s next, here are a few suggestions: ■ Keep reading—and sharing—what you find. Drop our task force a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned for Parking & Mobility magazine each month. ■ Check in with your colleagues on Forum. These conversations in our members-only online community are powerful—and bite sized, and come straight to you in the daily digest. ◆
ROBERT FERRIN is assistant director with the City of Columbus, Ohio, and a member of IPMI’s Research & Innovation Task Force and Board of Directors. He can be reached at rsferrin@ columbus.gov.