Urbanism Next
University of OregonUniversity of Oregon

Streets & Curbside Management

Street policy must accommodate new modes and increased deliveries in ways that increase safety, accessibility, and livability.

With increased demands for curb space and curb access, new strategies are needed to manage this in-demand resource. Organizing and regulating curb use and access allows for improved traffic flow, creates opportunities for revenue generation, and can help shape travel behavior. Creating curbside management policies that align with existing goals and values can help cities achieve desired outcomes.

Issues & approaches

Outcome Based Policy Approach: Even in a quickly evolving world of emerging technologies and new mobility options, cities can lean on traditional policy approaches to create the solutions that best suit their needs. By explicitly stating goals and desired outcomes for new technologies and services, incentives and penalties for helping achieving these goals can be set regardless of the type of technology being ushered in.

Gathering Existing Conditions: A challenge that many cities face in creating curbside management policies is a lack of information about the current conditions of their curb space allocation and access. Mapping and auditing current curb space locations, assignments, fees, and policies and compiling this information in a centralized place is essential for crafting effective curbside management policies.

Understand Current Use: By collecting data on the types and amounts of curbside uses currently existing, cities will be better positioned to allocate and price curb access for passenger pick up and drop off, micromobility storage and charging, transit boarding, deliveries, and other new and current uses. 

Prioritizing Modes: Establishing which modes receive priority access to streets and curbs is another tool to help achieve transportation goals. Priority access can be allocated by time, space, or both in order to encourage the types of mode usage that each city wishes to bolster. Policies for mode prioritization should clarify which modes will receive priority, where, and when, as well as implementation tools, including fees or taxes.

Space Allocation Policy: Designating travel lanes by mode can help organize space, improve traffic flow, and support mode prioritization. Street space can be assigned to travel by transit, bikes, micromobility devices, pedestrians, microtransit, TNCs, freight, and drones in order to separate modes of differing speeds and passenger-moving efficiency. Curb space can be designated for the parking and charging of bikes and other micromobility devices, whether on the street or on the sidewalk, as well as pick up and drop off areas for other modes. On-street parking can be reduced to help accommodate these other uses, with remaining parking spots allocated in specific locations and amounts to meet local needs.

Policy Tools and Implementation Approaches: The following list includes examples of tools and approaches that can be used for street and curbside management. Individual cities should consider their needs, goals, and unique context when choosing the tools that will best suit them.

  • Operations Limitations 
  • Vehicle caps
  • VMT/RUC Fees 
  • Empty Vehicle Fee
  • Empty Seat Fee 
  • Emissions Cap 
  • Pick-up/Drop-off fees 
  • Parking/Charging Fees  
  • Coverage Requirements  
  • Complaint/assistance guidelines  

Examples/case studies

Curbside Management Study report front page

Curbside Management - Approaches and Strategies

Curbside Management Study

View - District Department of Transportation 

This report from Washington DC’s District Department of Transportation discusses the varying needs of curbside uses and objectives for curbside management strategies in order to meet those needs..

new mobility in the right-of-way report front page

Curbside Management - New Mobility

New Mobility in the Right-of-Way

View - Urbanism Next

Urbanism Next examines curbside management strategies in place around the world to understand current usage patterns and identify gaps in research.

2018 e-scooter findings report front page

Pilot - E-scooters

2018 E-Scooter Findings Report

View - Portland Bureau of Transportation

This report by the City of Portland’s transportation department outlines the proactive approach they took to ensure that these new mobility devices supported existing safety, congestion, equity, and climate goals.

Related topics

Bicyclist riding on protected red bike lanes in the center of busy street in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Street Design

As new transportation modes emerge and demands for street space increase, how can the needs of all modes be met?

Narrow downhill road in Porto, Portugal with cars parked on both sides

Parking & Urban Form

How will the reduced need for parking caused by the proliferation of new mobility technologies impact urban form?

Bikeshare bikes parked in bike rack on side of city street


Shared micromobility devices like bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters are becoming new fixtures of transportation. How will micromobility integrate with other transportation modes?

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