Apr 8, 2020

Product Update: Launching Projects!

Jordan Anderson

Software Engineer

Back in December, we released Scenarios on the Coord platform. Scenarios allow users to make hypothetical changes to curb regulations and assets, assess the tradeoffs between the old and proposed curb, and publish these changes to the live curb dataset.

With the launch of Scenarios, our curb analytics tools made it easier not just to visualize what your curbs look like today, but also to understand the impacts of changes you are considering making. Today, we’re announcing a new feature that further supports your work to transform your curbs: Projects!

 

Our goal with Projects is to more closely align Coord’s planning tools with the real-world planning process curb managers use. When you’re planning to make any curb changes — to add or expand loading zones or pickup/drop-off (PUDO) zones, for example — you’ll create a project. Projects allow you to:

  • Define a study area;
  • Identify the curbs and sites that need to be changed;
  • Analyze the impacts of different alternatives; and 
  • Communicate the alternatives and eventual actions to your colleagues and the public

Each project has a name and a geographical area; you can choose from previously defined areas in your project or create a new one for the project. 

pasted image 0 (6)Figure 1. Selecting the area for a new project

 

Choose your own curb adventure with alternatives

Planners need a way to explore different options on the curb. Enter alternatives. Alternatives are similar to scenarios: planners can use them to try out different curb programs and compare these alternatives to the current conditions on the curb as well as against other hypothetical alternatives.  Once you’ve created an alternative, you can name it and then begin setting it up for comparison. 

pasted image 0 (5)Figure 2. A defined project area, 6th Street Loading, in the Austin dataset 

 

Searching for the best curb sites

Let’s say you’re a planner in Austin and want to add loading zones near 6th St., but you aren’t sure where you should add them. You have a few requirements though, based on city regulations and your own knowledge: you know you’re looking for 80-foot long sites that are adjacent to hydrants, curb cuts, intersections, bulbouts, and bus stops. This will  give trucks a little extra space to pull in and out of the loading zone, and can reduce the amount of space we need to dedicate to each zone.


Our new curb search tool lets you specify exactly the criteria you’re looking for, whether you are looking only for existing loading zones to expand or want to avoid existing loading or passenger pickup/drop-off space. We’ve tried to make these criteria as flexible as possible to meet the needs of curb managers.

pasted image 0 (4)Figure 3. Defining the criteria (time of day, adjacent regulations etc.) for our curb search

Once you’ve defined your criteria, you’ll click “Search” and the Coord map view will highlight in blue each curb segment in the project area that meets your criteria. From there, you can click on any of these curbs and begin to add loading zones.

pasted image 0 (3)Figure 4. The results of a curb search; areas that meet the search criteria are highlighted in blue

 

Adding zones for loading, passenger pickup/dropoff, and parking

For this example, we’ve clicked on the north side curb of East 6th Street, between Trinity and Neches. As you can see below, the curb view is shaded blue between the two bulbouts to indicate that this curb segment meets our criteria of being at least 80-feet long and adjacent to a bulbout.

pasted image 0 (7)Figure 5. View of the curb on the northside of E. 6th St., between Neches and Trinity, with the segment that meets the search criteria outlined in blue

We can now click the Add Zone button to add a loading zone on this curb. We’ll add a $3/hour loading zone between 7am and 4pm, Monday-Friday. Our zone creation tool is flexible enough to allow you to create zones with different uses that apply at different times, with varying prices and durations.

Screen Shot 2020-04-06 at 2.37.07 PMFigure 6. Defining the rules for a new proposed loading zone in Coord

Because all of these changes are passing through Coord’s regulations engine, when you add new assets and zones to the curb, the regulations -- or uses -- will be automatically calculated for you. After we add our loading zone, the use for that segment updates accordingly (see below), from one long 211 ft. stretch of 2-hour parking from 7AM to 4PM to a curb with 80 ft of a $3/hour loading zone and 131 ft of parking.

You can repeat this process if your project involves creating a set of loading zones. Screen Shot 2020-04-06 at 2.40.42 PMFigure 7. The same curb view as Figure 5, but with the new proposed loading zone added and the regulations having changed to reflect this

 

Comparing alternatives and summarizing changes

Once you have a single alternative defined, you can set up others and compare them to each other or to your existing curb conditions. You can quickly begin to answer questions such as: Which alternative adds more loading space? Which one removes more metered parking space? How much potential or actual revenue (based on historical paid parking data) would you potentially lose from these changes? 

In the example below from Austin, you can see that we’ve created another alternative for this project called 7th Street Loading, where we’ve added loading zones along a block of 7th Street, and are comparing it to the 6th Street Loading alternative. The bar chart shows the difference between the 7th and 6th Street alternatives: we’ve added 10 more car-lengths of loading space in the 7th Street alternative, but also took away three more car-lengths of no-parking curb, three car-lengths of pickup/dropoff, and four car-lengths of unrestricted parking as compared to the 6th Street alternative.

pasted image 0 (2)Figure 8. The Coord Dashboard, with graphs comparing the impacts of the different alternatives

In addition to being able to see these changes graphically, we’ve also added a table that provides a summary of each of the changes (e.g., added 80 ft of loading zones) and where on each street these changes would be made.

Coord-4-1Figure 9. Coord Dashboard, with the proposed changes table indicating where the proposed changes would occur and the length of the new features

With these two levels of insight, you’ll be able to quickly build presentations for  residents, business owners and elected officials, as well as provide data-driven input into planning studies or environmental impact statements.

 

Publishing Changes to the Current Curbs

Once you’ve reviewed the changes with the relevant parties and received appropriate approvals, you’re ready to schedule your changes to the curb and push them live. You can do this with a few clicks; simply select “Publish project” from the left-hand menu, choose the alternative to be implemented and the date the new uses take effect, and confirm you’re ready to push these changes live. These changes will then appear as the new curb regulations/assets on the scheduled date, updating your curb data and Coord’s API accordingly.

pasted image 0 (1)Figure 10. Publishing the loading zone pilot to the live curb dataset

We’re excited to see how you use Projects to push forward your curb management initiatives or pilot new ways of managing your curb space. Projects is also a great tool to help set up a Smart Loading Zone Program with Coord. As always, feel free to reach out at support@coord.co to learn more about a Smart Loading Zone Program with Coord or with any thoughts or questions about our tools.

Jordan Anderson

Software Engineer

Jordan is a software engineer at Coord. He was an urban planner for 8 years, working on everything from analyzing the economic impact of universities on their communities to modeling ferry ridership on the East River. In his spare time he loves playing the banjo and riding bikes in Brooklyn with his family.