Curbside Management Is Critical for Minimizing Emissions and Congestion

The curbside is valuable real estate in cities, providing private vehicle parking, pick-up/drop-off areas, public transit stops, freight loading/unloading zones, and space for pedestrians and bicyclists. Shortages and poor management of curb space can cause congestion and increased emissions due to vehicles searching for parking and can create unsafe conditions from vehicles double parking. Traditional curbside planning strategies have relied on land use–based demand estimates to allocate access priority to the curb, such as pedestrian and transit in residential areas and commercial vehicles in commercial and industrial zones. Recently, pilots in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere have used new technologies to provide information to users about space availability or dynamically price the curb. Researchers at the University of California, Davis conducted a review of practices in curbside management, and they conducted simulations to evaluate the impact of different management and design strategies on travel time, congestion, vehicle travel, and emissions in residential, commercial, and mixed-use neighborhoods in San Francisco. This policy brief summarizes the findings from that research and provides policy implications.