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Future Ready Kerbside: Creating Places That Put People First

Uber and WSP have partnered to release a new white paper – Future Ready Kerbside – which examines what we need to do today to ensure our kerbsides and streetscapes enable the places people want now and into the future.

Using two case studies to bring the recommendations to life, Crown Street in Sydney and Onehunga Mall in Auckland, the white paper examines how the kerbside is allocated and managed during the day and evening and what impacts that has on people and place. It then envisions how these kerbsides could be reimagined to create better places, support future transport technology, and improve access for the delivery of people and goods to support local business.

WSP’s Future Ready Lead Graham Pointer said that the way we manage and allocate the kerbside has a significant impact on achieving what we want from our places, on how people move within them and enjoy the public realm.

“Despite its importance, the kerbside is often overlooked as a passive infrastructure asset reflecting legacy policies, not used productively to realise a vision for the future,” he said.

“But there are steps that cities, governments, local businesses and communities can take today to create more liveable places that embrace the opportunity future transport provides.

“What this white paper reveals is that we need to act now if we are truly serious about creating great places for people now and into the future, and how we manage and allocate the kerbside is a crucial part of that."

General Manager for Uber Australia and New Zealand, Dom Taylor, said that demand for the kerbside was already at a premium, and this will only increase as transport technologies shift to a shared, electric and automated future.

“Unless governments, communities and businesses work together, decisions made decades ago will continue to shape the future of our urban spaces,” he said.

“Take for example the amount of space unquestionably dedicated to parked cars, which prevents people travelling in more environmentally friendly ways. This results in a lack of enjoyable public space and inhibits the growth and ambitions of local businesses by failing to provide for alfresco dining or micro freight.

“With demand for shared transport, like rideshare, and food and light goods delivery only set to grow, how we allocate the in-demand kerbside will shape how liveable our cities are and how quickly we can embrace the benefits of new transport technologies.

“At Uber we believe future transport technology presents a huge opportunity to improve the liveability of our cities and lead us to a zero emissions future, but we’ve got to get the basics right. Making the kerb work harder is a great place to start.”

Key Recommendations from the Future Ready Kerbside white paper include:

Co-design the vision for places in partnership with the community, businesses and governments. Success will only come if local communities and businesses all are open to challenging the status quo, considering evidence, and working towards a shared vision.

Take a people and place first approach so that new mobility is an enabler and not a detractor to realising the co-designed vision. Too often city leaders view new mobility as a threat. The conversation needs to be flipped to consider what we want from our places and then how new mobility can best support that vision.

Dynamically manage and allocate the kerbside to use it more productively and achieve the vision for the place. Emerging technology can be harnessed to better manage the kerbside. For example, during COVID-19 lockdowns, dynamic signage could have been used to change kerbside allocation to allow for pick up/drop off spaces during peak food delivery times.

Move from general parking to pick up/drop off for people and goods to improve kerbside productivity and access to local places. We need the kerbside to work harder to enable more people to access local businesses and services, and for businesses to send and receive deliveries. This means restricting the use of general parking, such as two and four hour zones, in preference for pick up/drop off zones and micromobility.

Design and continually upgrade local infrastructure to promote safe use and access for all ages and abilities. We should ensure there is equal physical, digital and financial access to transport and places for everyone in our community. Perceived and actual road and interpersonal safety is crucial to bringing people to places.

To download the full report and recommendations, visit here.

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