Property Australia

Future-ready kerbsides


Demand for the kerbside is already at a premium, and this will only increase as we shift to shared, electric and automated transport, finds a new report by WSP and Uber.

Three key takeaways:

  • Uber and WSP have released a new white paper – Future Ready Kerbside – which examines the opportunities and obstacles to productive kerbsides
  • Ride sharing, new micro-mobility modes and a rise in online shopping and food deliveries have all driven debate about kerbside efficiency
  • The white paper sets out five opportunities for kerbsides and 10 recommendations for city leaders.

“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,” says WSP’s future ready lead Graham Pointer.

"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."

Kerbsides are a prerequisite of productive places. They can free up space for shade, seating, wider footpaths, transit, new mobility options, walking and cycling, and enable better access for people of all ages and abilities.

Dom Taylor, general manager for Uber Australia and New Zealand, says demand for the kerbside is 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,” Taylor says.

“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.

The report outlines opportunities to “make the kerb work harder”:

  1. Co-design the vision for places in partnership with the community, businesses and governments. Success depends on local communities and businesses challenging the status quo, considering evidence and working towards a shared vision.
  2. Take a ‘people and place first’ approach so that new mobility is an enabler of the vision. Too often city leaders view new mobility as a threat; the conversation needs to be about what we want from our places and how new mobility can best support that vision.
  3. Dynamically manage and allocate the kerbside to use it more productively with the help emerging technology. The report points to the use of dynamic signage during COVID-19 lockdowns to transform parking spots into pick up and drop off spaces during peak food delivery times as an example.
  4. Move from general parking to pick up and drop off for people and goods to improve kerbside productivity and access to local places. This means restricting the use of general parking, such as two and four hour zones, in preference for pick up and drop off zones and micromobility.
  5. Design and continually upgrade local infrastructure to promote safe use and access for all ages and abilities. The report finds perceived and actual road and interpersonal safety are crucial.

“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, Taylor concludes.

Download Future Ready Kerbside.