How curbs are helping connect Oahu for a more sustainable future
Coord simplifies on-street parking data collection through software-based tools that streamline project management, surveying, and data analysis efforts. Compared to traditional, manual GPS methods of data collection, such as deploying human surveyors, Coord’s Toolkit was at minimum 3x as fast as traditional methods and produced more accurate results by reducing human error.
A team of 5 Columbia University and 2 University of Hawaii graduate students were selected to conduct a parking study in the Ala Moana neighborhood in Honolulu, Hawaii as the island of Oahu is constructing a brand new rail line encompassing 21 stations across 20 miles, which will connect West Oahu and central Honolulu.
The City and County of Honolulu is planning for transit-oriented development (TOD) around future rail transit stations to focus growth along the rail corridor, curb development on rural and agricultural lands, and improve the efficiency of services and infrastructure – creating a more sustainable future for Oahu. A TOD neighborhood is vibrant, incorporates different uses for livability, and is typically within ¼ to ½ mile, or a five to ten-minute walk, of a rail station. By providing a varied mix of housing, jobs, and services in a TOD area, the ability to walk, bike, and take various forms of transit is encouraged, which can help reduce household transportation costs and dependence on the automobile.
The curb is a critical part of this planning effort. In order to draft effective regulations and plans, city agencies require up-to-date information on land use. With accessible, accurate curb data, planners can understand parking supply and demand to prioritize parking efficiency and optimize spaces for public use. In the case of the City and County of Honolulu, and in most cities, however, there is not a centralized location for data assets, including parking information. Rather, data is often outdated, partially available, aggregated to unusable geographies, and expensive for an agency to acquire.
How Coord Helped
The Columbia/University of Hawaii team utilized Coord’s Surveyor app, which uses AR to quickly and accurately collect the position of street features, to gather up-to-date curb information on approximately 20 curb miles. The team of seven collected 2,600 data points over the course of 64 hours. Each curb was covered by two surveyors for data accuracy and occasionally verified by the survey manager.
Coord Surveyor provided dual benefits in efficiently and accurately cataloguing curb data as well as managing the surveying itself. For instance, the user interface offered control over the curb selection within the study area, allowing the study manager to assign curbs to field surveyors. By providing clear curb assignments, time spent on coordination was significantly reduced. For the field surveyor, the Coord Surveyor app set-up and use was simple. Access to Coord Surveyor required no special equipment other than an iPhone, and the user interface for the app was intuitive, logical, and progressive by step, which yielded a simple, straightforward training for diverse team members. When combined, the live data uploaded by the surveyors and the real-time verification by the survey manager yielded an efficient and nimble process that guided the study through completion.
The study also utilized more traditional methods, including data collection by means of GPS device to capture waypoints. In comparison to Coord’s technologies, team members found the GPS methodology time intensive. Rather than digitizing and uploading data automatically, as Coord’s Toolkit does, the GPS method required data to be recorded separately either through a spreadsheet on a mobile device or by hand. Data processing also required joining the waypoint with the spreadsheet (and an additional transcription step, if done by hand) to make the data assets useful.
Following the data collection, Coord’s Survey Management web app quickly processed the parking data that had been collected and provided accurate outputs on curb rules and regulations for any day or time. Coord’s platform was also able to link the collected data with site-specific municipal codes, like adding parking signage text to the curbs, allowing the team to analyze the data much more rapidly than if it required processing the data themselves.
The Coord Surveyor app enabled faster, more efficient, and accurate curbside data collection in comparison to traditional methods. With easy access to parking information for the first time, the City can now revise the LUO and TDM more effectively, which in turn, will make mobility more efficient and seamless, and increase overall quality of life for residents. Plus, through this study, policymakers, businesses and communities can begin to understand how developable space and opportunity costs impact parking optimization.
In just a two-week timeframe, Coord’s Toolkit provided an easy solution to quickly and effectively compile accurate parking data that would not be possible otherwise.
Fun Fact about this project
The Columbia University team had a unique requirement for their data collection project—they needed to also map the tree coverage for the streets included in the survey. The Coord team customized the Coord Surveyor app to include the ability to capture images and locations for the trees. The city wants these images so that they can determine the level of shade trees provide, and better understand how providing more shade along the street/curb impacts mobility. [Screenshots of the feature below]
Images of trees along the public right of way are captured
Coord now has the ability to map trees against curb data
Trees can now be counted as point asset data along the curb for a given study area
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