Curb Allocation Change Project

Curb Allocation Change Project

This University of Washington (UW) study focuses on a strategy to manage TNC driver stops when picking up and dropping off passengers with the aim of improving traffic flow in the South Lake Union (SLU) area. SLU is the site of the main campus for Amazon, the online retail company. The site is known to generate a large number of TNC trips, and Amazon reports high rates of ride-hailing use for employee commutes. This study also found that vehicle picking-up/dropping-off passengers make up a significant share of total vehicle activity in SLU. The center city neighborhood is characterized by multiple construction sites, slow speed limits (25 mph) and heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Key findings

This University of Washington (UW) study focuses on a strategy to manage TNC driver stops when picking up and dropping off passengers with the aim of improving traffic flow in the South Lake Union (SLU) area. SLU is the site of the main campus for Amazon, the online retail company. The site is known to generate a large number of TNC trips, and Amazon reports high rates of ride-hailing use for employee commutes. This study also found that vehicle picking-up/dropping-off passengers make up a significant share of total vehicle activity in SLU. The center city neighborhood is characterized by multiple construction sites, slow speed limits (25 mph) and heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

A significant percentage of vehicles performing a pick-up/drop-off stop in the travel lane. Those in-lane stops appear connected to the lack of available designated curb space: Adding PLZs and geofencing increased driver compliance in stopping at the curb versus stopping in the travel lane to load and unload passengers. But it was not lack of curb space alone that influenced driver activity: Between 7 percent and 10 percent of drivers still stopped in the travel lane even when PLZs were empty. After adding PLZs and geofencing, in-lane stops fell from 20 percent to 14 percent for pick-ups and from 16 percent to 15 percent for drop-offs.

Adding PLZs and geofencing reduced the average amount of time drivers stopped to load and unload passengers. For example, 90 percent of drop-offs took less than 1 minute 12 seconds, 42 seconds faster than the average with the added PLZs alone.

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