‘Smart Zones’ come to City of Omaha in bid to improve kerb access
Smart Zones can meet cities’ needs by enabling commercial drivers to use the mobile devices they already use every day to locate nearby available loading zones and to hold, book, and pay for time in them.
The City of Omaha has launched its first-ever ‘Smart Zone’ pilot programme to better manage the city’s kerb space.
The programme, launched in partnership with kerb-management firm Coord, builds on Omaha’s efforts to develop a robust regional transportation strategy, and follows their selection by Coord as one of four U.S. cities to participate in its inaugural Digital Curb Challenge.
Demand for kerb space in cities is rapidly changing as on-demand delivery, e-commerce and freight activity continue to grow. Smart Zones can meet cities’ needs by enabling commercial drivers to use the mobile devices they already use every day to locate nearby available loading zones and to hold, book, and pay for time in them. As a result, Smart Zones improve the coordination, safety and convenience of kerb-side delivery and service vehicle loading in cities. They can also offer a more streamlined experience for drivers, reducing the incidence of safety and congestion hazards, such as double-parking and parking citations.
Commenting on the launch of Omaha’s first Smart Zones, Ken Smith, Omaha Parking & Mobility Manager, said: “Well-managed kerb access for service and delivery vehicle drivers makes it easier for businesses to receive supplies and services. We are excited to partner with Coord – this new technology will tell us where, when and how loading space is needed. By improving the safety and efficiency of these deliveries we improve the parking experience for everyone in our urban core.”
The Smart Zones will also provide Park Omaha with information that is essential in empowering the city to make data-driven operational changes. For example, kerb data can be used to create more loading space where it’s most needed or help manage demand for it through pricing and time limits. Space availability, rules and prices are digitally communicated to drivers, allowing cities to make adjustments for zones in response to policy changes, special events or emergencies without modifying street signage.
“Well-managed loading zones can reduce double-parking and other behaviours that create safety hazards and impede traffic flow, making downtowns more convenient, safe and pleasant to visit,” said Dawn Miller, Coord’s Head of Policy and Partnerships. “As cities look for opportunities to support their brick and mortar businesses, they see creating safe, accessible downtowns – accomodating a mix of in-person and delivery/pickup business – as a way they can make a real difference. We are thrilled to launch this program with the Park Omaha team and look forward to tackling these same challenges with cities across North America in the year ahead.”