Municipal Adaptation to Changing Curbside Demands: Findings from Semi-Structured Interviews with Ten U.S. Cities

Alejandro Henao, Joshua Sperling, Stanley Young, Scott Vine, Polina Butrina

Research output: NRELPoster


Emerging mobility services (e.g. ride-hailing, e-commerce, micro-mobility, etc.), are generating novel and rapidly growing demands to use curbside space, with potentially large impacts on mobility, energy consumption, and related outcomes. This presents both opportunities and challenges to municipal agencies responsible for managing this interface between the road network and adjacent land uses, as legacy practices require updating. In this study, we employ a semi-structured interviewing approach to establish how municipalities are adapting to these new pressures on their curbside. We interviewed senior staff responsible for curbside policy of ten large U.S. municipalities, with populations ranging from ~250,000 to ~5,000,000 (and the majority of which are the central city of their metropolitan region). We document a trend of organizational restructuring to more formally include curbside management teams, with the majority of interviewees also reporting increased staffing. Respondents reported that operational failures at their curbside (e.g. demand in excess of capacity) have impacts on safety, capacity, and emergency vehicle mobility, with impacts highly concentrated spatially and temporally (e.g. late evenings in nightlife districts). We document a diversity of data flows between ride-hailing operators (e.g. Uber, Lyft) and municipalities, with some cities reporting obtaining types of data that other cities report not receiving, despite requesting such data. Finally, respondents consistently expressed a desire for new data streams and methodologies to help manage the curbside of the future. It is hoped that establishing the state of practice in this rapidly changing context will be of use to practitioners facing similar pressures as those of our interviewees.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2020 Transportation Research Board (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting, 12-16 January 2020, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5400-75181


  • curb management
  • curbside space
  • mobility services
  • ride-hailing
  • ridehailing
  • semi-structured interviews
  • vehicle technologies


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