Banner Image Credit: Rose Lamond
Creating Places that Put People First
Productive kerbsides are a prerequisite to achieving our vision for our local places. They can free up space for shade, seating, wider footpaths, transit, new mobility options, walking and cycling. All together enabling better access for people of all ages and abilities.
We are currently failing our local places through a legacy of static management and allocation of the kerbside. This makes it harder and not easier for people to access local businesses and engage with their communities.
WSP was commissioned by Uber to explore the future ready kerbside that supports places for people. Our white paper introduces new analytical techniques to explore what the future may hold, building on the Shared Mobility Principles for Liveable Cities.
Making the Kerbside Work Harder
Cities across Australia and New Zealand are growing and changing. Populations are rising. Settlement patterns are changing. Technology is evolving and influencing all parts of our lives. All the while, people’s expectations for liveability and what they want from their local public spaces are increasing. As the world around us and our role in it changes, we depend upon our local places even more – for connection to our communities, for a bite to eat, for important services and to earn our livelihoods.
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 of the place,” 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.
Why Kerbsides Matter
This white paper reveals that we need to act now if we are truly serious about creating great places for people today 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.”
Decisions need to be made now for future ready kerbsides that serve our people and places. City leaders should consider the Shared Mobility Principles for Liveable Cities to guide how we adopt new mobility for the benefit of people and places. This is even more timely as we bounce back from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and look again at our public spaces, such as streets, and consider how well they are working for people.
The Shared Mobility Principles present a guiding light to ensure that decision-making by city leaders is focussed on people. As we set a shared vision for our places we must consider how new mobility can help enable that vision supported by inclusive governance arrangements and design decisions. New ways of prioritising and managing the kerbside are needed to improve efficiency and flexibility to better achieve the vision for the place.
WSP’s New Mobility Update of the Movement and Place Framework, supported by scenarios developed through WSP’s System Dynamics Tool, demonstrate what the future may bring in 30 years. We have shown what 2050 could look like for two locations in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. Achieving these visions will not happen by chance. It requires collaboration and a focussed effort by city leaders, both public and private.
Our aim is for these recommendations to be embraced by city leaders to drive co-design between communities, businesses and governments for a shared vision for places. How our kerbsides are managed and allocated is a key enabler to achieve the vision. Current practice is patchy with a number of areas for improvement. This is particularly important in the context of new mobility and ensuring that it contributes to achieving our vision for places, rather than detracts from it.
- Co-design the vision for places in partnership with the community, businesses and governments. A shared vision is a crucial first step requiring active, collaborative engagement. How the kerbside if allocated and managed is an integral aspect of achieving the 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 for cars and micro-mobility.
- Prioritise access for all ages and abilities to our local places, supported by funding for local infrastructure. Too often our places are considered in isolation. Funding decisions and the scope of local plans must encompass local infrastructure like wider footpaths and bike lanes to support people to access their local places, while reinforcing the role of transit as the backbone of the transport network.