The Race to Code the Curb

The Race to Code the Curb

Everyone—from ride-hailing cars to delivery trucks to bikes and scooters—wants a piece of the curb. How can smart cities map and manage this precious resource?

Key findings

Most cities don’t currently have digital maps that would allow them to regulate curb users in anything approaching real time.

Apart from providing an authoritative catalogue of a city’s assets, bringing all this information together could help cities measure the revenue generation potential of their curbs—useful as cities evaluate how to shift revenue away from car parking to newer options like scooters and ride-hailing. A dynamic map of curb data can also be key for cities to achieve other goals, like sidewalk compliance or equitable access.

Some of the new, data-oriented products that aim to pave over conflicts at the curb are also raising new conflicts about privacy and governance of public space. In attempting to combine real-time and long-term efforts to manage the curb, cities could risk overstepping their right to surveil the action.

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