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Designated curbside space for deliveries and taxis reduces double parking and U-turns: study

Such incidents fell 64 percent near special zones during a recent D.C. pilot program

Two delivery trucks—one white, the other brown—are at rest outside of a classical building on a city street.
Commercial delivery trucks parked near the Treasury Building

In August, the District launched a curbside management study in collaboration with San Francisco-based tech startup CurbFlow. The three-month study concluded at the end of October and now the results are in. Among them: Incidents of double parking and illegal U-turns fell 64 percent near special pick-up and drop-off zones the city established for vehicles.

The study also found that on-demand deliveries from online food delivery services like Postmates and Caviar were the most popular users of the zones, followed by freight and parcel deliveries from commercial services like UPS and FedEx. The zones were located at nine locations across D.C., including in Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Navy Yard, and the H Street NE corridor. Roughly 6,350 commercial drivers representing about 900 companies registered for the CurbFlow app and reserved curb space in the zones a total 15,000 times.

A grid map of a city showing nine locations where the city set up special pick-up and drop-off zones.
Map of designated pick-up and drop-off zones for pilot study

On-demand deliveries lasted between 7 and 11 minutes on average, whereas ride-hailing and taxi activity lasted less than 2.5 minutes on average, according to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), which partnered with CurbFlow on the study. City officials removed street parking spaces to make way for the pick-up and drop-off zones. In a statement, DDOT director Jeff Marootian says the data collected through the program will “inform the next generation of policies, plans, and strategies” that D.C. uses to regulate curbside demand.

On average, over 350 registered drivers used the program daily, and 85 percent of those surveyed gave CurbFlow high marks, per the startup. “What we saw in DC is that having reliable, real-time access to the curb has a major impact on the ability of people to move around the city efficiently,” says CurbFlow founder and CEO Ali Vahabzadeh in a statement. DDOT is currently soliciting additional research on tech-based public-space management.