Urban sidewalks have traditionally been assigned on the basis of real estate: parking meters in front of stores, loading areas near supermarkets, areas with no parking in warehouses, parking not measured in residential areas, etc. However, with the explosion of new mobility options, such as riding a bicycle, carpooling and bicycle sharing, and the impending spectrum of vehicles on the horizon, cities are beginning to reconsider how they allocate space on sidewalks. They are beginning to realize that if they do not get ahead of technology, it could cause chaos on the sidewalk.
better manage traffic congestion and parking problems
The goal of helping on that front is Sidewalk Labs, Alphabet's smart city incubator. In February, the company launched Coord, a cloud platform to help cities and mobility companies better manage traffic congestion and parking problems in their streets. For a price, Coord will provide the software developers of these companies with access to complete and standardized API data on tolls, parking and sidewalk space in US cities. UU
Seeing that there was so little good that he could do as a B2B product, Coord today is launching its highly detailed map of San Francisco sidewalks as a free digital tool for everyone to use. After digitizing the curbs of the city, including parking meters, parking signs and strips, Coord condensed all that data into a map that can be searched by date, time, vehicle type and desired action. Are you a delivery driver looking to load or unload some products for approximately 30 minutes? Coord's sidewalk scanner can show you where you can or can not afford it. The same applies to drivers who share the trip who are looking for an ideal place to leave passengers or vehicle owners looking for a parking spot of choice.
Using the Curb Explorer, I was able to determine that the curb in front of the Verge office on the Embarcadero was primarily a "non-stop zone," with a small area just in front of the building for passenger loading. Good news for anyone who takes an Uber or Lyft to work. Bad news for anyone foolish enough to drive their own car.
The Coord team used an internal application called Surveyor instead of relying on conventional topographic methods to collect their data. But there was still a lot of shoe leather work involved. Employees walked the streets of San Francisco, taking pictures of sidewalk cuts and prominent intersections. The application, using augmented reality technology, then read the signs, measured the distance between the spaces and cut them to a 3D map, all in about four minutes. Then, Coord took all these esoteric street rules and untranslatable parking signs and distilled into information that could be easily digested into a search map.
Using AR to map our curbs
Are you looking for free parking on a Monday morning? Most neighborhoods have free two-hour parking, with the exception of SoMa, the financial district and Union Square. Do you need to leave your vehicle to share the car at night? After 6:00 p.m., the vast majority of the curbs in the coverage areas become a free parking shelter (although some require permits) until the next morning.
The Coord map could also prompt city officials to reconsider how they allocate the sidewalk space. According to the TNC Today data from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the Financial District, Union Square and SoMa see the most intense pick-up and drop-off activities, with spikes at 8 AM and 6-7 PM on Monday to Friday. This area is also primarily a non-stop area, which by law prohibits taxi or TNC vehicles from picking up or dropping passengers along these curbs. Perhaps the city will reconsider these rules after seeing the data of Coord.
Or maybe not. Our cities are still quite stupid, trapped in the bureaucracy and, in general, do not respond to change. And the idea that any of them will turn into a brilliant digital utopia overnight without large injections of capital is pretty absurd. That's why projects like Coord that can help cities innovate at the edges will be interesting to see.
"We hope that the information we make available today will not only help public and private participants in the mobility market to interact with the sidewalk more efficiently and safely, but also improve the ability of cities to remodel their regulations. and curb management, "says Coord. . "We believe that the wide distribution of accurate information about mobility services, such as the use of a curbstone, is a key step to accelerate the adoption of a digital mobility market that more effectively combines the mobility offer with the increase in demand. "