The latest Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) research, "Managing the Curb: Understanding the Impacts of On-Demand Mobility on Public Transit, Micromobility, and Pedestrians," examines curb planning and management from several angles, such as safety, social equity, and multimodal connections.
This research employed a multi-method approach to identify the changing needs for curb space management and how to meet these needs through new planning and implementation policies and strategies. The authors conducted 23 interviews—covering public, private, and non-profit sector perspectives—and surveyed 1,033 curb users and 241 drivers (taxi, transportation network company, and public transportation).
The study found that if shared mobility is not properly planned, it could negatively impact curb access for all users. Additionally, different users reported notably different concerns. For example, TNC and taxi drivers are more concerned about street parking and locating their passengers while other users are more concerned about micromobility blocking curb access.
“Most respondents (70%) in our surveys felt that access to the curb should be prioritized for certain vulnerable populations such as older adults, persons with disabilities, and pedestrians,” explained the study’s authors. “Collectively, the results of the literature review, expert interviews, user survey, and driver survey inform potential curb space strategies. These strategies ensure we are reaching all populations of users.”
Increased understanding of shared mobility’s impacts can help improve curb space planning and design. Curb space management practices (e.g., allocating locations for TNC pick-ups and drop-offs, leveraging pricing strategies) can improve curb space access and make curb space safe and accessible for all users.
Public agencies can use the “MARVEL” framework developed for this study (as defined below) to:
- ‘M’ake a Curb Space Plan that considers accessibility, management of multiple modes, environmental impacts, social equity, and more.
- ‘A’llocate Curb Space by using competitive (e.g., first-come first-serve) or non competitive (e.g., lotteries) process to allocate curbspace.
- ‘R’egulate Curb Space Access by leveraging management strategies that can determine access by mode, operator, and/or operational characteristics.
- ‘V’alue Curb Space through various strategies to charge for access that help manage demand and raise revenue.
- ‘E’nforce Curb Space Use to ensure that curb spaces are used as intended.
- ‘L’earn from Curb Space Use through performance metrics and data to evaluate existing curb space use to support local goals.