Repurposing the kerb: a U.K. perspective

February 3, 2021 Trevor Taylor

Repurposing the Kerb is a concept promoted at Conduent Transportation that aims to optimise the value of the city, town, and village kerb space from a traffic management and demand perspective.

Repurposing the Kerb is about gaining a greater understanding of parking habits and how they change over time. Changes are driven by economic and social influences, including the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s about understanding that a double yellow line next to a long-since shuttered factory is an example of redundant and, most likely, counterproductive parking restriction. And it’s about exploring the possibilities of multi-use kerbside management throughout the course of each day, including everything from loading bay, to pay-and-display, to residential parking, across 24-hour cycles.

At its heart, Repurposing the Kerb uses data to inform decision-making, to challenge conventional wisdom, test hypotheses, and help local transportation authorities and municipal leaders avoid unintended consequences.

In practice, kerbside management should be based on the services used today, the space available around each parking spot, and the types of users who interact with the kerb.

Ultimately, pricing and policy should adapt dynamically in response to knowledge gained. And while real-time changes may be possible, by ‘dynamic’ we have found that it’s often better to implement changes over a longer time period, to absorb the lessons learned and better manage the expectations of drivers and other users.

Meanwhile, two pilot studies carried out by Conduent Transportation in the U.S., offer valuable insights for parking managers here in the U.K.

A pilot in the Chinatown area of Washington D.C., sought to better understand demand pricing, kerbside optimisation, and whether by using fewer physical assets, such as sensors or cameras, it would be possible to reduce the cost of data collection. On this point, we found that by using spatial and temporal sampling, we could halve the number of sensors without reducing effectiveness. In terms of pricing, the D.C. pilot began with one standard parking tariff that was updated to 11 different parking fees, based on location and time of day. The city also incorporated clear messaging on the website, through a mobile app, and signage to reduce confusion regarding parking fees. Among notable results from the D.C. pilot, the use of underutilised spaces increased by 14%, circling for parking decreased by 10-15%, and compliant parking revenue increased by 17%.

A similar Conduent Transportation pilot in Los Angeles increased the availability of cheaper parking spaces located within one street away from a driver’s destination from 40% to 90%. This pilot also reduced 67% of fixed tariffs, yet still increased compliant parking revenue by 2%.

We are currently working with a number of U.K. clients on similar pilot projects and will share the results once they are available. In the meantime, however, local authorities seeking to improve kerbside management can contact us at transportation@conduent.com or visit www.conduenttransportation.com to learn more.

About the Author

Trevor Taylor

Trevor Taylor is an Operations Director for Conduent Transportation, specialising in enhancing people-led operations through the use of technology and data advances.

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