The UK’s TRL has put together a taskforce to find ways to optimise the management of curbside space across the country and make roads safer.

The taskforce will articulate the problems faced by road users, network managers, and councils who could use pavements to generate new revenue. It will look for practical solutions and offer the results to national leaders to raise the profile of the issues.

TRL says that with the growing number of curbside delivery services increasing congestion on busy streets without making any payment for the space they use and the simultaneous decreasing revenue from parking permits, a lack of curbside management is threatening to make the space a battle ground. New government policies on active travel and electrification of transport are unintentionally putting different user groups in direct competition for the same road space, with cyclists expecting clear lanes which may now be blocked by EVs using charge points or littered with e-scooters.

“The curbside was left behind when urban environments were evolving and maturing as living spaces for people,” says Paul Campion, CEO of TRL. “It was assumed it was a space reserved for parking and maybe for walking without getting too close to the vehicles. But now, with the focus on decarbonisation and making cities more liveable, it presents a unique opportunity for change”.

“With this project, we want to bring more voices into the conversation around the issues to help policy makers find a way forward. The longer we delay, the more problems we store up, and the more opportunities we miss,” adds Campion.

“One of the key barriers we are facing is the salience of the issue,” says Mark Corbin, chair of the ADEPT National Traffic Managers Forum. “Curbside management is not at the top of anyone’s agenda. The taskforce has identified a need for a decision to be made at the national level that local authorities can then implement. This will allow us to create updated and relevant regulation that keeps our curbside safe and worthwhile to use. Once we have effective curbside management practices, the pent-up innovation within industry can be unleashed for the good of society.”

Images: Adobe Stock.

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