Curb Appeal: Creating Dedicated Zones for New Mobility Services

The rapid increase of ride-hailing services, deliveries from retailers and restaurants, plus traditional taxis and other services, has put curbside real estate at a premium.

As a result, several cities have begun experimenting with dedicated pick-up/drop-off (PUDO) zones for new mobility services. Such zones promise to improve traffic flow, reduce the number of accidents and make it easier to coordinate deliveries and ride-hailing.

Last year Fort Lauderdale, Fla., added designated PUDOs and improved bike paths, crosswalks and other pedestrian areas along a busy boulevard. City officials say the improvements helped cut the number of reported injuries in half, reduced crashes by 21% and decreased traffic delays by 20%. Other initial benefits included boosting sales of local businesses and increasing parking revenues, according to an initial study conducted by the city.

Washington, D.C., is launching its own pilot program this year. The city created six PUDO test zones to help reduce congestion and improve safety.

Such programs aim to balance the needs of various road users, reduce speeding and minimize the number of doubled-parked vehicles blocking other road and sidewalk users. But, to be effective, experts note the zones need to be supported by good signage and promoted by ride-hailing and delivery services. There also has been some pushback in tests cities among vehicle owners who may lose parking spaces to PUDOs near their homes or businesses.