/ MOBILITY & TECH
Life After COVID By Roamy Valera, CAPP
IFE WON’T BE THE SAME POST-COVID, particularly when it comes to curb management. After more
than a year of social distancing, and with many more months of it likely, people aren’t in a rush to huddle together with others outside their immediate social circles. When it comes to transportation, that means fewer people will be taking public transit and carpooling for the foreseeable future. Instead, they’ll be commuting in their personal vehicles. Transportation planners have even coined a term for the impending trend: carpocalypse. One study by researchers at Vanderbilt University predicts that there could be 5.5 to 6 million additional cars on American roads and highways post-COVID. The focus of the Vanderbilt study was on increased commute times, but the implications are just as dire for mobility and curb management. When you introduce so many additional cars and trucks onto city streets, curb management becomes that much more important and challenging. City administrators, transportation and parking planners, and cities’ parking industry partners need to prepare for this new reality now. One of the challenges we’ll face in managing the curb the next few years is that curb management begins with transportation demand management (TDM). Simply put, it will be more difficult to rely on TDM to manage the curb if fewer people are willing to take public transit or carpool.
Technology is Key The key to managing the curb will be found in technology— mobile parking technology in particular. Cities like Detroit (see Parking & Mobility’s November cover story on Detroit) are rolling out apps designed to promote mobility, and one of the most important elements of those services is the parking guidance function that shows drivers in real time where parking is currently available and how much it will cost. Detroit is at the forefront of this movement, but other cities across the U.S. are readying their own apps. Mobile technology can connect people to all elements of the parking and mobility experience, and it is the bridge to these new smart city mobility apps. It gives people control over their route and transportation via GPS and mapping apps, and once
12 PARKING & MOBILITY / AUGUST 2021 / PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG