Aug 23, 2021

Encore in Nashville: Smart Zone Pilot Extending and Expanding

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Doneliza Joaquin

Program Manager

We’re excited to share that the Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure will be expanding and extending the Smart Zone pilot they’ve been running with Coord. Building upon the existing program, which has been in place since February, Nashville will add new Smart Zone locations throughout downtown. Stay tuned for more updates!

Want to read about what we’ve learned so far? Read the below highlights from the program’s first six months!

 

3, 2, 1....Showtime

It’s been six months since we launched a Smart Zone pilot with Metro Nashville, one of four cities selected for our inaugural Digital Curb Challenge. After launching in February, many COVID restrictions have been lifted and Nashville's downtown is again full of music, pedal taverns, and food for every occasion. We are excited to share some initial findings from our pilot.

Nashville’s Smart Zone program consists of 8 dedicated loading zones in downtown where drivers access real-time Smart Zone locations and availability via the Coord Driver app. As they approach their destinations, drivers can hold and then book time in a Smart Zone, currently paying $4 per hour, or fraction thereof. The 3-block pilot in Nashville’s downtown’s Arts District started out cold, literally (an ice storm closed streets downtown in its first few weeks). However, it has since been on its way to improving safety and efficiency of digitally-driven curb management.

Read more below!


Map of Nashville Zones - August 2021-1-1
Map of Nashville’s Smart Zone locations.

All Genres of Deliveries
To-date nineteen fleets have signed up for the program, including a mix of regional businesses and national brands such as Coca-Cola distributors, What Chefs Want, and U.S. Foods. However, fleet-based drivers aren’t the only Smart Zone users; parcel delivery, on-demand drivers, moving companies, and service providers are just some of the industries represented by independent drivers.

While more than half of Smart Zone sessions were completed by truck and commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles make up the rest of the users.

This mix corresponds to the diverse, and ever growing, demand for curb space. It is great to see hundreds of drivers able to use the app hundreds of times to find safe and permitted loading locations.

Hair of the Dog
Although Smart Zones are active from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., the most popular time for loading is at 9 a.m. on weekdays, with larger truck activity ending by 2 p.m. The theory for the peak is that the morning is when bars and restaurants are refreshing their supplies from the previous evening.

Weekday activity is fairly even across the days, with slightly more activity overall on Thursdays and Fridays. Except for trucks, which see peak activity on Mondays.

Metro Nashville will continue to monitor these trends to see if they persist during the summer months.

Quick as a Two-Step
The average stay at a Smart Zone is 43 minutes. The maximum amount of time a driver can stay is 2 hours. Now drivers pay only for the time used (by the minute); previously, drivers had been paying in 15-minute increments.

While truck activity peaks in the morning, 9 a.m. sees the lowest dwell time for trucks. Trucks’ dwell times peak at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

There’s some variation between loading times among the eight Zones ranging from under 30 minutes to an hour.

Street Changes, No Heartbreaks Here
Our Metro Nashville partners have been able to utilize the flexible curb management system to make real-time updates to curb availability. When Smart Zones needed to be closed for a film shoot and for the monthly Art Crawl, one click on the agency-facing dashboard updated a Zones’ status. Smart Zone closures were immediately reflected in the apps used by drivers and parking enforcement, so drivers were no longer being directed to these locations and would instead navigate to other available options. And to accommodate new street features (e.g., a stage on Rep. John Lewis Way), a Smart Zone was shortened from 43 to 33 feet in length. This was edited to reflect live conditions so that only vehicles that could fit in a smaller Zone were able to navigate and start a session.

Nashville Smart Loading Zone Sign
Nashville street sign used to identify each Smart Zone location for drivers.

Coord Progressions
With feedback from fleets, drivers, businesses, and our partners at Metro Nashville and the Downtown Nashville Partnership, we’ve been able to implement changes to streamline the program experience, add new features, and save fleets and drivers money. This includes switching fleets to monthly billing (rather than daily), auto-holding Zones for drivers (for more hands-free time), and auto-ending sessions if a vehicle is determined to have left the Zone.

With the number of sessions and users growing every month, we look forward to learning, and sharing, more findings as the pilot continues. Our partners at Metro Nashville will continue to monitor the program and data it generates to modify program design including hours of operation, pricing, and time limits to optimize drivers’ ability to efficiently find safe and legal loading space when and where they need it.

If you are a curb manager and are interested in learning about bringing Smart Zones to your city, you can find more information about what we offer to cities here or request a meeting with a member of the Coord team here.

If you’re a fleet or driver in Nashville and you want to access Smart Zones, learn how here.


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Doneliza Joaquin

Program Manager

Doneliza is a program manager at Coord. She is helping to deploy Coord’s Smart Zone pilots and programs. Previously she has worked as an urban research team leader at the real estate listing startup Localize.city, as a management consultant focusing on public sector and non-profit organizations, and as an adjunct professor at Barnard College teaching courses in GIS mapping and analysis. Outside of work, Doneliza enjoys running in the city, preferably including a bridge or two, and exploring running routes when traveling.