The Curb and Contracts

Curb lane management is a challenge in many cities. Effective management begins with the fundamental understanding that the curb lane is the nexus between transportation and land use, and serves as the economic hub for urban streets. A successful curb lane management plan must be context-sensitive, ensuring access to the curb for all user groups. However, allocating curb space across diverse consumers often extends beyond the capabilities of the city government.

Some cities have outsourced parking and commercial vehicle loading zone management, allowing private-sector operators that specialize in the area to play an active role in managing the curb. Through a service level agreement, cities like Atlanta, GA, and New Orleans, LA, have set terms on how private sector operators will manage the curb lane for motor vehicles.

A similar approach can be used by municipalities that struggle to manage micromobility devices. By developing contracts with micromobility operators, cities can set service level thresholds that address the size and safety of micromobility devices. Rather than the traditional approach of issuing a permit to a micromobility operator and letting the operator determine management practices that focus on maximizing revenue, cities can partner with specific micromobility operators that agree to provide targeted goals such as first/last mile connectivity and the equitable deployment of micromobility devices. A contract model provides cities the opportunity to negotiate a revenue share with micromobility operators and monetize this emerging mode of transportation.

Additionally, service contracts have the potential to levy penalties against micromobility operators that don’t meet city standards, such as placing electric scooters in designated zones or addressing fallen devices. Although some cities may be able to manage micromobility operators through issuing annual permits, a service level contract has the added benefit of creating a dynamic partnership that enhances a city’s ability to manage both sides of the curb.

A curb lane management plan works best when the policies, procedures, regulations, capacity, and messaging combine to create an efficient system.

Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.

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