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Call for Papers is Now Open: The Curb Lane (Special Issue of Transportation Research Part A)

Call for Papers is Now Open: The Curb Lane (Special Issue of Transportation Research Part A)
Call for Papers is Now Open: The Curb Lane (Special Issue of Transportation Research Part A)
June 1, 2020   //   

JUNE 1, 2020 — The Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center is pleased to release the Call for Papers for The Curb Lane: Analysis & Policy, a special issue of Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

Scope of the Special Issue

We are looking for methodological and empirical works and scientifically based pilot studies that can inform the academic community and practitioners on current curb space use behaviors and the state-of-the-art of curb space management, including COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts. We are also seeking provocative insights into the future of the curb. We welcome contributions focusing on individual curb users, including private vehicles, carsharing services, TNC vehicles, commercial freight vehicles, micromobility services, pedestrians, and future modes of transport (such as driverless vehicles and delivery robots), as well as works studying how multiple users interact and compete for curb space. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • empirical studies and models of curb space use behaviors (including innovative social distancing measures);
  • methods to quantify curb space demand(s);
  • methods to evaluate the impacts of curb space management strategies;
  • evaluation of innovative curb space management strategies through pilot studies and experiments, provided that they are based on high quality data and solid research;
  • empirical studies quantifying the externalities caused by curb space congestion and curb space mismanagement;
  • innovations and technologies for collecting new sources of curb data and for managing and regulating the curb space.


The curb space is the portion of the public rights-of-way that demarcates the roadway from the sidewalk, separating pedestrian flow from moving vehicles. It is a complex urban space serving three main functions (City of Seattle, 2019):

  • access: Infrastructure that links sidewalks to the transportation system, enabling people and goods to be loaded/unloaded onto different transport modes;
  • storage: Storage of vehicles that are not in circulation by providing parking spaces;
  • mobility: Enables through-traffic of bicyclists, buses, and other vehicles.

The study of curb use, curb management practices, and their impacts on road traffic is not new. Traditionally, most scientific studies on curb management have focused on one curb-use type—parking—often from the perspective of one curb user—private vehicles (see for instance papers in the special issue on Parking, published in Transport Policy in 2006, and the books by D. Shoup published in 2005 and 2018). However, the paradigm of the curb as a space dedicated to storing private vehicles is now shifting to a space subject to constant technological, economic, and cultural changes. The past decade has seen not only a surge in demand for curb space but also the rise of new demands, driven by new forces of change:

  1. The rise of online shopping has increased demand for same-day deliveries in urban and residential areas, driving up demand for commercial vehicle loading and unloading spaces.
  2. The increased use of Transportation Network Company (TNC) vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft, has exacerbated curb space congestion; many of these vehicles pick up or drop off passengers in the travel lane, blocking traffic.
  3. The rapid adoption of micromobility modes, such as dockless shared bicycles and electric scooters, has shifted some of the congestion from the roadway to the curb and sidewalk.
  4. The sharing economy has found success in the sector of urban mobility, claiming curb space as a prime location for customers to store and access shared vehicles.
  5. The widespread application of the internet of things (IoT) in urban areas—for example, in systems of interconnected parking sensors—is generating new streams of data on curb space uses.
  6. The climate emergency that brought many cities to unbearable levels of pollutants has motivated environmentally friendly urban design; some cities have converted curb space to pedestrian areas and bicycle lanes, while others have implemented public transit-only lanes to decrease congestion and pollution.
  7. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted the transportation system and curbside management (e.g., new uses of streets and bike lanes to encourage social distancing and the curb for on-demand deliveries) and heightened overall awareness for the need to sanitize public spaces to protect public health. These recent disruptions may alter how the curb is viewed and used in both the short- and longer-term.

These new phenomena have generated both opportunities and challenges for curb space management. Traditionally, cities have taken a fragmented approach to curb use regulation, often responding retroactively to the needs of individual property owners and businesses. Most of the time this approach has favored private-vehicle parking. The limited real estate provided for other uses has created a surge in curb space competition. New curb users are now in frequent conflict, which creates negative externalities such as parking cruising, illegal parking, road blockages, and collisions.

Efforts to regulate the curb also suffer from a lack of publicly accessible data on both the demand and supply of curb space. Cities often do not have the technical expertise to develop a curb data-collection and data-sharing strategy. In addition, the private individuals and companies that generate most of the curb-use data often withhold them from public use to protect proprietary information and personal user data.

However, new uses of data sources, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and cellular networks, as well as the implementation of wide networks of IoT devices, are enabling the “digitization” of the curb, allowing cities to gain a better understanding of curb use as well as ways to change their approach toward curb space management.

In a way, the revolution in curb space management has already started. Many cities are re-inventing their role from passively regulating on-street parking to dynamically allocating and managing the curb, both physically and digitally, to serve many different users. Geofencing and time-dependent allocation of curb space facilitate efficient passenger pickup and drop off. Parking information systems and pay-for-parking apps enable dynamic parking allocation and pricing. We believe this is the right time for scientific research to “catch up” with current changes and to develop new analytical tools for curb space management. Such efforts are the focus of this special issue on curb lane analysis and policy.


City of Seattle (2020) Seattle Right-of-Way Improvements Manual

S. Ison, T. Rye (2006) Special issue on Parking in Transport Policy D. Shoup (2005) The High Cost of Free Parking, Chicago: Planners Press

D. Shoup (2018) Parking and the City, New York: Routledge

Guest Editors 

Anne Goodchild, Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center, University of Washington

Giacomo Dalla Chiara, Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center, University of Washington

Andisheh Ranjbari, Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center, University of Washington

Susan Shaheen, ITS Innovative Mobility Initiative, University of California, Berkeley

Donald Shoup, Department of Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles


Open Paper Submission: June 1, 2020

Paper Submission Deadline: December 1, 2020

First Round of Review: April 1, 2021

Final Acceptance: June 1, 2021

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About the Urban Freight Lab (UFL): An innovative public-private partnership housed at the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center at the University of Washington, the Urban Freight Lab is a structured workgroup that brings together private industry with City transportation officials to design and test solutions around urban freight management. Since launching in December 2016, the UFL has completed an innovative suite of research projects on the Final 50 Feet of delivery, providing foundational data and proven strategies to help cities reduce truck dwell times in load/unload spaces, and failed first delivery attempts by carriers, which lowers congestion, emissions, and costs.