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Testing Curbside Management Strategies to Mitigate the Impacts of Ridesourcing Services on Traffic

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Publication:  Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: 2020

Increased use of ridehailing leads to increased pick-up and drop-off activity. This may slow traffic or cause delays as vehicles increase curb use, conduct pick-up and drop-off activity directly in the travel lane, or slow to find and connect with passengers. How should cities respond to this change in an effort to keep travel lanes operating smoothly and efficiently? This research evaluates two strategies in Seattle, WA, in an area where large numbers of workers commute using ridesourcing services: (i) a change of curb allocation from paid parking to passenger load zone (PLZ), and (ii) a geofencing approach by transportation network companies (TNCs) which directs their drivers and passengers to designated pick-up and drop-off locations on a block. An array of data on street and curb activity along three study blockfaces was collected, using video and sensor technology as well as in-person observations. Data were collected in three phases: (i) the baseline, (ii) after the new PLZs were added, expanding total PLZ curb length from 20 ft to 274 ft, and (iii) after geofencing was added to the expanded PLZs. The added PLZs were open to any passenger vehicle (not just TNC vehicles), weekdays 7:00–10:00 a.m. and 2:00–7:00 p.m. The results showed that the increased PLZ allocation and geofencing strategy reduced the number of pick-ups/drop-offs in the travel lane, reduced dwell times, increased curb use compliance, and increased TNC passenger satisfaction. The two strategies, however, had no observable effect on travel speeds or traffic safety in the selected study area.

Recommended Citation:
Ranjbari, Andisheh, Jose Luis Machado-León, Giacomo Dalla Chiara, Don MacKenzie, and Anne Goodchild. “Testing Curbside Management Strategies to Mitigate the Impacts of Ridesourcing Services on Traffic.” Transportation Research Record, (October 2020).