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We have all been there – stuck in traffic from a construction on a transit project or road improvements. Although the end goal may benefit us, all we can see are the disruptions in the moment. Despite all that cities do to manage and plan for this type of work, the communication of these impacts can be lost in the mail (sometimes literally) and temporary changes means that impacts to curb users can change on a daily basis. And this is only on the road! Finding parking, accessing businesses, and finding places to meet can all be made more difficult by big infrastructure projects. More often than not, these occur in busy, urban areas. Fortunately, there are ways cities can mitigate these impacts while still improving infrastructure. CurbIQ has solutions to help during all phases of construction from planning, to opening day, and beyond.

Improve Pre-Construction Planning

Large urban infrastructure projects are a huge undertaking; they not only involve a complex construction process, but also planning beforehand. Oftentimes, this pre-construction work is what makes the difference between a smooth, efficient rollout, and a PR nightmare. Coordination between all project, public, and private stakeholders is needed to make important decisions on construction traffic management: from curbside closures to alternative parking allocation and effective wayfinding communication. Unfortunately, the current method of delivering this can be quite labour intensive – endless drawings and revisions, multiple meetings, scenario comparison, and lots of back and forth.

CurbIQ streamlines this entire process by providing an interface to not only visualize this information, but help communicate options and make decisions:

  • Curb Viewer provides a friendly UI for relevant stakeholders to visualize the area and corresponding impacts from work being completed.
  • Curb Manager enables consultants to create various scenarios that show different traffic management and closure options.
  • Curb Analyzer can be used to compare and contrast these options.

For example, a full curbside closure may eliminate more spaces and decrease revenue on a main street but leave more room for temporary loading zones and overflow parking on side streets. By quantifying these differences, and fully understanding impacts, decisions can be made more effectively and quickly, with the option to further assess and refine during the project.

Using Curb Analyzer to make informed decisions before a construction project.

Communicating Information to the Public

At the end of the day, no matter how well planning goes, there will always be issues that arise. The ability to mitigate those issues and respond to them accordingly is key to a successful project. This is especially relevant in infrastructure projects in the public space. Any subway installation, road work development, or freeway expansion typically results in upset residents, businesses, and visitors. Transparency and communication can go a long way – using Curb Viewer during the construction process helps communicate changes to the public on work being done.

This can include more than just closures and restrictions: alternative routes and access points can be displayed, business information and associated parking can be highlighted, and up to date information can be emphasized for last minute changes. Having this central source of information can go a long way compared to an unexpected Road Closure sign on your way to your favourite restaurant or a mailing notice that blew away in the wind. Transit agencies and cities can reference this information to anyone affected by the construction to minimize confusion and effectively convey work going on.

Use Case: Broadway Subway Project

A perfect example of how CurbIQ can be used for large scale infrastructure projects is with the work IBI Group is doing for the Broadway Subway Project (BSP) in Vancouver, British Columbia. IBI is involved in a variety of large transit construction projects – for the Broadway Subway Extension, one of IBI’s main roles is planning and coordinating the traffic management throughout the duration of the project which will last for at least 5 years. IBI’s BSP team brought on CurbIQ to help with their work and better plan curbside closures and restrictions throughout the project.

Firstly, CurbIQ’s curbside data collection methods were used to get an inventory of the pre-construction curbside conditions for the project area, to fully understand the impacts. Once this was all collected, digitized, and uploaded to CurbIQ, the BSP team used CurbIQ to propose and plan various closure routing options for traffic while simultaneously seeing the impacts of those changes through Curb Analyzer. Additionally, CurbIQ enabled the team to finalize designs before generating drawings in Civil3D (a requirement of the project), which resulted in significant time and cost savings as working and revising in Civil3D can be quite involved.

Now that construction has begun, the project’s curbside regulation changes have been published, so a digital record of all impacts to the curbside can be recorded. Once construction is complete, the new design and curb designations can be updated and continuously adjusted to provide the best usage of curb space to modes that can provide last-mile services from the newly built stations. The continuous documentation of the changing curbside provides a historical record that can be used as a method to track progress on the cities’ goals. Sustainability goals, number of users, or potential revenue of the curbside can all be assessed to help the city work towards the climate action plans’ goals and increase the implementation of shared and sustainable mobility solutions in the future.  

Curbside regulations surrounding the site of the Broadway Subway project. (note: regulations are not current).

Using CurbIQ to Improve Infrastructure Projects

Although it’s impossible to solve for every problem that comes with infrastructure projects, there are ways to be proactive about addressing them. Visualization and management tools like CurbIQ let consultants and cities not only better plan for large scale closures and interruptions to road networks, but also provide an effective way to share these disruptions and minimize impacts. This way, the focus can be on the benefits that will come from the end result of the project, not the impacts now. Don’t hesitate to reach out to see how CurbIQ can help you manage your next big project!

Imagine yourself driving to a beautiful tourist location. A charming village on the mountains or a little town by the beach. Once you get there, you park your car and begin to enjoy the day.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? But this is not the reality. You have driven for hours only to end up in a traffic jam looking for parking. After many circles around the block, straining your eyes to read the parking signs, you find a spot. Now you have to search for the payment machine. After paying, you can finally begin your visit. However, you are tired and frustrated because all the good spots by the beach are gone! If only you had access to information about where and when to park, and not to mention real-time occupancy…

Sounds like a dream – but it’s not. CurbIQ has developed a public-facing curbside visualization tool to help you plan ahead and find parking faster during peak-demand season!

Public Facing Curb Viewer: CurbIQ for Everyone

CurbIQ’s Public-Facing Curb Viewer (PFCV) is a simplified version of Curb Viewer designed for the general public. It is a map-based tool accessible at no cost to users through a variety of web browsers, on any mobile, tablet, or desktop. PFCV simplifies the curbside restrictions and user interface for a more seamless user experience.

With PFCV, the public can access all information regarding parking and mobility options around a city or destination: from metered on-street spaces to off-street parking lots, and from pick-up and drop-off zones to e-scooters and bikeshare stations. PFCV provides information about parking tariffs and payment options, as well as links for the user to complete parking payment or booking operations. By retrieving data from existing sensors and parking-payment APIs, PFCV can display real-time curb space occupancy to help users choose the most convenient location. This also helps with wayfinding and minimizes the amount of time spent cruising the streets for parking.

The dynamic nature of PFCV lets users visualize how curbside restrictions change throughout the day, allowing them to plan their trips according to the existing curbside options during their time of interest. Furthermore, regulation changes made by cities to accommodate for seasonal parking demand or for events will automatically be reflected in PFCV, so users can have access to the most up-to-date curbside supply information.

Simplifying the Curb with User Types

No stopping here, no standing there, curb cuts, crosswalks, electric vehicle charging stations, accessible parking spots, bus loading zones, taxicab stands… the list is endless. Visualizing every single curbside regulation in a city at the same time is confusing and overwhelming. That is why CurbIQ created “user types”: a feature that displays the PFCV map from the perspective of different curbside users.

For example, imagine you are visiting a city and want to find a place to park your car. There may be transit zones, or curbs designated for passenger pick-up and drop-off in your general area of interest, but to you these are simply places where you are not allowed to park. By selecting the “Personal Vehicle Parking” user type, CurbIQ will classify all regulations from the perspective of someone whose only interest is to park in a particular space. If you happen to be a commercial delivery driver, the map will be simplified in a way that only portrays where vehicles are permitted to load and unload. This reduces the level of detail on the map and only shows the information relevant to specific users.

The ability for users to select this feature helps reduce the complexity of the curb and customizes the experience depending on the user’s needs.

Use Case: Harrison Hot Springs

parking lot by the mountains

In 2021, IBI Group led a parking study for Harrison Hot Springs, a small lake village in British Columbia known for its natural hot spring pools. Located in a valley two hours away from Vancouver, the town has minimal transit connection, causing visitors to mainly travel by car. Like many tourist towns, Harrison Hot Springs faces high levels of parking congestion during peak times of the year, and it lacks the spatial resources needed to satisfy this seasonal demand. Additionally, the increase in private developments has significantly reduced the municipal parking supply. This has resulted in tourist traffic spilling into residential areas of the town, leading to unhappy residents and frustrated tourists.

To solve this complex problem in a way that satisfies both parties, IBI came up with a series of recommended strategies, including integrating public parking into new developments, restricting to one-side parking along streets with no sidewalks, and expanding transit and active transportation networks.

In addition to the physical re-organization of parking supply, IBI recommended having a digitized curbside and parking inventory that could be easily accessed by the public. As a proof of concept, CurbIQ helped the IBI team collect curbside data and generate a public-facing solution for internal purposes, as shown below:

The Solution for Tourist Locations

In contrast to the typical tourist map, CurbIQ’s PFCV solution would provide an interactive view of all parking options, which dynamically changes based on the seasonal parking needs. For instance, during the summer months, when tourism is at its peak, the town’s seasonal parking supply strategy could be reflected on CurbIQ. Visitors and neighbours could visualize new temporary parking locations, any restrictions that are applied to residential areas, and real-time parking space occupancy for those towns that have sensor infrastructure installed. Having access to a centralized and up-to-date source of curbside and mobility information would help drivers reduce time spent searching for parking, eliminate visitor traffic in residential locations, and create a more pleasant tourism experience overall!

Combining a public-facing curbside visualization tool with industry best practices in parking optimization provides a seasonal solution to many tourist locations. Let us know if you are interested in implementing a similar solution. We would love to help you with it.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, North American cities have been characterized by a clear car dominance. Compared to the idealized concept of people-centric European cities, America’s car-focused urbanistic approach has led to miles and miles of multi-lane roads. This approach offers minimal access to alternative mobility options and little open space for citizens to live and interact. But what happens when large social, environmental, and health challenges come knocking? Can roads handle the traffic congestion formed by the increasing urban population? Are streets able to adapt to incorporate more equitable and sustainable mobility options?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink how different uses of the curbside  are allocated. Many cities have reevaluated their priorities to focus on complete street transformation projects on a wider scale, shifting the focus from cars to people.  Cites are beginning to see the value in wider sidewalks that benefit pedestrians, or pick-up and drop-off zones near local businesses and restaurants. For many North American cities, the addition of bicycle lanes has been a crucial aspect of this transformation. Uninterrupted and protected bikeways allow for cross-city trips as well as local connections for people to travel using sustainable and active modes. These transformations often come at the cost of reappropriation of the curb lane.

The curbside is a complex and dynamic space. To efficiently roll out complete street transformation projects, powerful and flexible tools like CurbIQ make it faster and easier for cities and planners to implement these changes.

Use Case: ActiveTO Midtown Pilot

In early 2021, IBI Group supported the City of Toronto’s ActiveTO Midtown Complete Street Pilot. The project transformed 3.5 kms of Yonge Street, one of Toronto’s most iconic and bustling corridors, into a complete street over the course of 12 months, as part of the city’s COVID-19 response. IBI Group assessed three parallel mid-town corridors and selected Yonge Street due to its pedestrian activity, its subway and bus connections, its high-rise development over the years, and the volume of local businesses and restaurants. Understanding the existing curbside regulations along these corridors, using CurbIQ, was a key first milestone for the project.

Comparison of curbside regulations on Avenue Road, Yonge Street, and Mount Pleasant Road before intervention in 2021.

Visualizing Curb Regulations

CurbIQ allowed planners to visualize the original parking restrictions distributed along the chosen corridor. They also performed a detailed analysis by measuring the lengths of regulation segments, and quantifying total on-street parking supply. By fully understanding the existing curbside conditions, the IBI team was able to choose the most feasible complete street transformation for Yonge Street.

By the summer of 2021, Yonge Street’s curbside was completely redesigned using tactical means and light infrastructure materials to include a wide variety of competing regulations, including:

  • 3.5 kms of protected bicycle lanes were added to both sides of the street, separated from the car lanes by 1200 curb stones and bollards, and 250 planters for additional safety
  • 26 summer curbside patios that were previously approved by the CaféTO program
  • 86 winter parking spaces
  • 17 sections of artistic pavement markings
  • 4 raised accessible loading zones and TTC bus stop platforms

CurbIQ’s digital curb inventory gave the IBI team the flexibility to plan a balanced, people-centric, and mobility-friendly corridor. Bike lanes are the unifying thread, while revenue-generating regulations are still present.

Yonge Street, before intervention.
The summer configuration of Yonge Street, after intervention.

Using CurbIQ to Create Complete Streets

Flexible streets need flexible management software. The advantage of CurbIQ is that it is not only customizable and simple to use, but also that it adapts to the needs of cities and planners. CurbIQ has been designed together with planners to provide insight into common urban mobility issues.

Managing the dynamic nature of streets caused by seasonal regulations is a challenge when designing complete streets. In a city like Toronto, restaurants benefit from curbside patios during the summer, but when the winter comes, outdoor dining space can be reallocated to uses such as on-street parking. To accommodate this, bike lanes need to be periodically readjusted around seasonal uses of the curb, such as the bike-reroutes around curbside patios in the ActiveTO pilot.

Curb Manager provides a sandbox for cities to create and test different curbside configurations, without investing time or resources into physically implementing the changes. Planners can virtually remove parking spaces, create new pick-up and drop-off zones, or redistribute Bikeshare stations. Different scenarios can be compared in Curb Analyzer to determine the optimal transformation – whether that’s the number of parking spaces that need to be reallocated for bicycle lanes, the best location for a bus stop, or the number of users that will be impacted by these changes.

CurbIQ is an invaluable tool for cities and planners to use both before transformations for evaluation purposes, as well as on a day-to-day basis to keep track of past and upcoming changes.

A Future of Complete Streets

Complete street pilots like ActiveTO have demonstrated that it is possible to strike a balance between all curb users. Of course, not every street has the same activity and demand, so curbside configurations that work for some corridors may not work everywhere. Thankfully, CurbIQ’s city-wide data collection and analysis tools combined with industry best practices in design allow planners to create custom solutions for any city.

More and more cities are beginning to take on wider-scale transformations to tackle the pressing challenges of equity and sustainability. Curbside digitization and management tools like CurbIQ will be essential in helping roll out these innovative projects. Let us know if you’re interested in implementing a complete street, we’d love to help you with it.

Recently, the use of curb space has rapidly evolved, especially with the many changes happening in cities. Curb spaces that used to be paid parking went from pick-up drop-off zones during lockdown, to curbside patios and pedestrian spaces now, and will continue to shift in the future. The function of the curb has been changing so much that it can be daunting. To help understand the impact of these changes, consider the following questions:

  • What is the number of spaces compromised in order to make this change?
  • What is the potential revenue lost by doing this? Number of users impacted? The sustainability score?
  • Would this change impact marginalized groups or cause equity issues?
  • What are the possible consequences of making this area more transit-oriented vs. more pedestrian-friendly vs. for cars only?

These are just some of the possible questions that may arise for any curbside changes. The city then has to balance the many priorities and make informed decisions with the end user in mind, based on almost no data. I know, this sounds like a nightmare to cope with!

What if… you could see every possible option without implementing it? Here is where the value of comparison comes in.

Introducing the Comparison Dashboard

CurbIQ’s Comparison Dashboard is an integral component of Curb Analyzer that helps users navigate through the many possible changes to the curbside. The dashboard lets users compare changes in curbside supply by regulation type, potential revenue, sustainability score, number of users, or any other customized metrics for different curb uses. These changes can be viewed both in the side-by-side comparison view as well as in the net difference view.

By proposing different regulations on various scenarios, for example, proposing a transit zone and a few spaces dedicated to micro mobility for a transit-oriented scenario, users can see the difference between a proposed plan and the existing curbside conditions to understand the impact of these changes. Users can also compare different scenarios throughout various time periods to find the best fit for the given curb space. The intuitive and user-friendly interface of Comparison Dashboard allows users to easily navigate through the platform and see everything in a single view.

Comparison Dashboard

Understanding Different Use Cases

Want to make the area near a bus terminal more feasible for pick-ups and drop-offs, but don’t know how? Do you wonder if doing this will impact the residents or businesses nearby? Want to add designated zones in a location but not sure if that’s a right choice? Comparing different scenarios in Curb Analyzer makes this a breeze.

Removing parking spaces that generate revenue can be hard, but once you can see the other benefits, the change becomes easily justified. What are 5 new loading spaces when there are 150 parking spaces in the area? Besides looking at the potential revenue gained/lost, the number of users or sustainability score are other good metrics to evaluate the optimal usage of the curb. For a more vibrant street, like the area close to a transit station, it would make more sense to design the curb space such that it can serve more users.

There are many additional metrics that can be used to evaluate and quantify if a change would be a good decision. Distance to a certain facility, collision frequency, number of businesses, and loading dwelling time are also potential indicators to be used – all customizable for a given city and dashboard. Would this change bring more harm than good or is this a smart move? You can easily find out using CurbIQ’s Comparison Dashboard with just a few clicks.

Using the Past to Inform the Future

In addition to comparing different scenarios, users can also compare different historical periods to understand how the curbside has evolved over time. Tracking curbside changes can help cities visualize if they are achieving their goals. This applies to multiple metrics – municipalities can see if they have been implementing changes that give access to more users or have decreased potential emissions to align with climate goals. This is especially useful when demand data is available and integrated into the dashboard as well, but that’s for another blog post. Allowing cities to better understand their past planning and decisions can help them learn from mistakes or build off of successes to design for a better future.

hamilton curbside
An example of the change in curb use from traditionally parking to modern concepts like curbside patios.

Foreseeing Without Executing

Being able to compare before and after conditions without actually implementing it is a huge deal. Every single curbside change requires considerable time and effort from cities. Whenever a paid parking space is converted into loading zone, for example, cities have to first update that curb in their database, send workers to update the signage, remove a parking meter, and possibly re-paint the curb with a different colour. All these tasks cost money and they add up quickly when many curb spaces in a city are constantly evolving. Therefore, the ability to foresee how the curb would look in different scenarios helps to answer the what-if questions and leads to data-driven decisions.

Now what if… you want to make this a reality in your city? Don’t hesitate to reach out and we can show you the power of CurbIQ’s dashboards to help with curb management and planning.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are employed to help organizations understand and interpret the world around us. For any GIS digital infrastructure that enables us to visualize information and comprehend insights, GIS data is the backbone. When this GIS data is not readily available to an organization, it needs to be generated via other sources and processes based on certain assumptions and methodologies.

CurbIQ solutions focus on enabling municipalities to find value and the optimal usage of the curbside. To support this mission, it is very helpful to have a digital curbside representation and inventory of curb regulations. However, availability of as-built curbside GIS data is often scarce. The only open data available at a city’s disposal is often just road centerline GIS data. Fortunately, there are open source GIS data and tools available that make the most of this data. The CurbIQ team uses two main open source initiatives within our Curb Converter processes to create curbside inventories: OpenSourceMap (OSM) Data and Quantam GIS (QGIS) Desktop application.

Long ago, only private companies and government organizations were allowed to collect and store GIS data. They were expensive and highly restrictive, which made GIS data accessible only to the organizations or individuals who could afford to purchase them. Then came open source companies and software.

Open Source Resources and Software

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is an open-source digital map database of the world built through crowdsourced volunteers. All features are open to editing by any member of the user community. OSM map data is huge, covering all aspects of the GIS data spectrum, and is freely available for visualization, query, download, and modification under open licenses.

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with a mission to support and promote the collaborative development platform for open geospatial technologies and data. Currently, OSGeo hosts around 50 open source projects across webGIS frameworks, database extensions, and GIS Desktop Applications. One notable project is the QGIS Desktop application, which is an open source Geographic Information System that supports most geospatial vector and raster file types and database formats. This enables users to visualize and manipulate geospatial data.

These open source software provide a way to develop scalable solutions that avoid licensing costs and offer greater control over GIS workflows and development, compared to conventional commercial GIS software. Open-source software gives flexibility for users and licensing, as well as support from a massive open source community ecosystem. Some examples are outlined below.

Converting Geometries

Our team has developed Curb Converter‘s Open Data Automation process, using open-source QGIS Desktop’s Python APIs to process OpenStreetMap (OSM) road centerline data into curb geometries. We then map regulations to these geometries in CurbLR open-source format. The QGIS Python API has played a vital role in enabling GIS developers to formulate complex algorithms and data structures with greater control over geometry creation. Most notably, the API helps with handling a wide variety of regulations from various municipalities, as well as cleaning and generating meaningful curbside geometries from several field data collections methods.

Open-source QGIS software has helped us in handling GIS data as well as:

  • Exchanging GIS data from various sources in various formats to GeoJSON format to use internally.
  • Generating original source of curb segments by taking OSM road centerline data as reference.
  • Processing asset point data into curb segments.
  • Unifying multi-level regulations at a given stretch of curbside to visualize the regulations along with their respective temporal components.
  • Offsetting field data curbs from road centerline to align with as-built curbside locations.

Data Structure

We extensively use the GeoJSON data format for exchanging data internally until it is published to a PostGIS database to view on our CurbIQ platform. Fundamentally, GeoJSON data format is easy to handle and manipulate through GeoPandas, NumPy, and Shapely libraries, but can be difficult to work with in many standard commercial GIS software.

QGIS is an exception to this, and we were able to create customized QGIS processing tools to dissect, manipulate, and disseminate complex CurbLR curbside data in mapping software. This is essential for CurbLR data as its format can be quite complex and involve several subsets of data in JSON format.

The Institute of Transportation Engineering (ITE) also recognized the need to handle CurbLR data. Their team developed a Curbside Management Tool to help with curbside management, inventory, and allocation by temporally and spatially prioritizing demand and allocation of the curb using ArcGIS Pro processes. Part of this tool involved the ability to handle complex CurbLR curbside data by parsing it out into individual attributes.

Developing Geoprocessing Services

To enable every team member at CurbIQ to generate the data as required, QGIS Python API helped developers create several processing tools based on inputs we saw and municipality needs. To make sure the map interactions are smooth, we have employed the QGIS Python API to develop REST APIs so that the resource intensive geometry algorithms can be off-loaded back to the server in the form of asynchronous tasks. Results can then be displayed in the WebMap whenever the backend processes are ready with the results. This has saved the CurbIQ team an immense amount of time and resources to focus on clients and generate quality data.

CurbIQ and Open Source Applications

Overall, open source OSM data and QGIS are fantastic with their flexibility in development, support from the respective communities, and their performance in handling millions of records during processing. Curbside data generation is a complex job, however, OSM data and the QGIS application make developers’ lives much easier at CurbIQ. It helps us develop processing tools and methods which create accurate, complete curbside inventories for our CurbIQ platform.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions on open source software or want to take advantage of these processes.

Proactive management of curbside space is one of the best things cities can do to improve urban mobility for all modes of transportation. We’ve written about this before and shown how quick and easy it can be for a city to get started by digitizing their existing curbside regulations. But once you’ve done that, what’s next? How can you best summarize this information to gain insights on how curbside restrictions change over time, sort out whether the existing allocation meets your needs, and make changes where existing rules don’t align with local priorities?

Since the resulting curb layer is geospatially referenced, you may be tempted to crack open your favourite GIS application and take a look, but traditional GIS platforms have a couple of major limitations that make it difficult to work with curbside regulation data.

GIS does not work well with temporal complexity

Curbside regulation layers are complex spatially. It’s very common for a single segment to have multiple rules that apply to it – e.g. a no parking zone for an entire block face, but with a taxi stand and courier delivery zone placed right in the middle. 

Image by SharedStreets

GIS does not work well with non-tabular data sets

Working with data in tabular formats like CSVs and shapefiles is the bread and butter of traditional GIS. But curbside regulations are typically in JSON formats with more easily expandable data structures.

Image by SharedStreets

When dealing with curbside data JSON data structures are required to capture all of the detail related to curbside regulations – where they apply, what uses are allowed there, when they are in force, how they relate to other overlapping regulations, and more. These files can be converted to tabular structures to allow for backwards compatibility with legacy systems, but the resulting number of attributes can grow to become unwieldy to work with for areas with complex curbside regulations.

A better way

To help cities overcome the issues with traditional GIS platforms and leverage digitized curbside regulations we developed a set of simple tools purpose-built for managing curbside data. These cloud-based solutions are designed to be immediately familiar to anyone with prior GIS knowledge while being easy to use for non-technical folks as well.

The CurbIQ platform includes dynamic legends to accommodate new and unique types of regulations (curbside patios, anyone?) and automatically filters regulations to surface the highest priority regulation. CurbIQ tools also include filters to quickly view regulations for different times, days, and months. To understand how regulations change over a single day we’ve added a panel with a visual summary so it’s easy to see when restrictions change throughout the day on any street.

The emergence of COVID-19 drastically changed how governments, people, and businesses alike operate throughout the world. Cities were no exception; municipal staff from Madrid to Toronto organized pandemic responses that balanced citizen’s safety while also supporting local businesses. The result was a range of solutions across cities consisting of slow streets and sidewalk extensions for pedestrians, curbside patios for dining, bike lanes for cyclists, and designated curbside spaces for pick ups and deliveries.

A new look for the curbside due to pandemic response 

Although these installations were generally well received – people could now socialize, dine, and exercise outside safely – chaos at the curbside ensued. Quickly implemented curbside changes left drivers confused at where they can park, lane reductions meant customers and couriers struggled to get to their destinations, and road closures caused increased congestion on adjacent streets.

Introducing Curb Manager as a Pandemic Response Tool

Curb Manager was designed to help municipal staff efficiently update, create, review, and publish curbside regulations on a user-friendly platform. It provides a welcome alternative to the tedious process of searching through regulation schedules or open data and manually repealing and editing various line items.  

Now Curb Manager can provide an equivalent streamlined process for planning and implementing curbside changes for pandemic response. This process is outlined below and covers everything from planning to installation and communication of curbside infrastructure. 

Step 1: Choosing A Location

When staff are deciding where to locate a curbside patio or temporary sidewalk extension, it is crucial to know not only what curbside regulations are currently in place at the proposed location, but also what restrictions surround it. A curb extension shouldn’t be located where there is a fire hydrant, whereas an area that already has parking restrictions may make more sense. Similarly, a patio shouldn’t be placed right beside a garbage pick up zone or in the middle of a designated no stopping lane during rush hour.

Panning the Curbside to Understand Existing Conditions and Select a Curb Segment

Curb Manager lets a user visualize curbside regulations to understand existing conditions and place these restrictions where it makes the most sense. A user can simply pan the map to view restrictions and select the segment they wish to install the infrastructure on. This eliminates the need to complete surveys all over the city to understand existing conditions.

Step 2: Making A Regulation

Information such as how long the infrastructure will be installed, main points of contact, and the hours it is in operation, is all essential to flesh out when planning a curbside change. Curb Manager provides a sleek editing panel to input this information as well as the regulation type itself. This data can be saved for review and further refined based on feedback.

Editing Various Attributes for a Curbside Patio

Step 3: Accommodating Changes

Every additional curbside change to accommodate the pandemic comes at a cost. For example, curbside patios replace paid parking spaces, a bike lane reduces vehicles lanes. Therefore, when implementing these changes, the corresponding impacts should try to be minimized. Curb Manager can help with this by letting users change regulations around a new piece of infrastructure to accommodate a change. Were parking spaces removed? You can repeal the parking restrictions around the corner to make up for it. Are you replacing a lane of traffic with bike lanes or sidewalk extensions? Extend no stopping restrictions on the next main thoroughfare to provide an alternative route for traffic. By accommodating these pandemic related changes, municipal staff can alleviate many of the issues that come with this work before they even occur.

Change Adjacent Regulations to Accommodate Pandemic Response Installations

From the Digital Curb to Reality

Planning a pandemic response is often only half the challenge; getting changes approved and effectively communicating the response to staff and the public brings forth its own set of issues. Fortunately, Curb Manager can be used to minimize these problems as well. The Proposed Changes view provides a useful visualization alongside exported lists of changes to help upper management understand the changes and speed up the approval process. Curb Manager also lets users easily tweak proposed plans based on feedback.

Proposed Change Map and List View

Once changes are approved, these same visualizations can be used to help create work orders, plan construction, and convey changes to relevant stakeholders.

Changes can also be published to Curb Viewer and Curb Rules API so that pandemic response plans can be easily communicated to the general public and mobility companies. This should maximize usage of the installations while also minimizing confusion.

Curb Manager infographic
Pandemic Response from Initial Planning to Installation and Communication

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought increased uncertainty into everyone’s lives. Using Curb Manager as a pandemic response tool can help alleviate some of these unknowns by providing effective means to plan, approve, initiate, and communicate COVID safety installations throughout cities.