What is the Digital Curb Challenge 2021?

The Digital Curb Challenge is an opportunity for up to three cities or other curb managers (e.g., universities, airports, private developments) to partner with Coord to conduct a free Smart Zone curb management pilot program in 2021.

As part of last year’s inaugural Digital Curb Challenge, we partnered with Aspen, Nashville, Omaha and West Palm Beach to launch the first-ever Smart Zone pilot programs in these cities to better manage commercial loading. In 2021, we are looking for cities looking to build on the work of the 2020 cities to take Smart Zones to the next level. We’re looking for cities interested in Smart Zone programs that explore one or several of these features:

  • Variable pricing to use different pricing for different times of day or different Smart Zones. This can help manage demand and improve availability for drivers, shifting more loading activity to times when it works well for the neighborhood (e.g., early mornings or overnight) or across more zones.
  • Exploring greater automation, booking drivers automatically into the best available Smart Zone near their destinations.
  • Deploying Smart Zones in public spaces beyond the curb, such as alleyways.
  • Exploring Smart Zones for recurring or predictable uses of public space, such as charter buses, intercity buses, or mobile vending.
  • Applying Smart Zones in a unique neighborhood, downtown or other commercial setting.
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What are Smart Zones?

Smart Zones are spaces along the curb cities digitally manage and operate.  Today, Smart Zones are dedicated to goods loading and unloading. Drivers use a mobile app to see real-time Smart Zone locations and availability.

When they’re nearing their destinations, drivers can hold a Smart Zone, paying for space in-app when they arrive. This provides drivers with advanced curb intelligence they can use to navigate directly to available space, reducing illegal parking and circling. It provides cities with valuable data and tools to optimize their curb space to meet competing community needs.

Check out our videos celebrating our Omaha launch and detailing how drivers use Smart Zones to find safe, legal available loading space at each of their destinations.

Who Should Apply to the Digital Curb Challenge?

  • North American cities with populations 100,000 or greater are eligible to apply for the Digital Curb Challenge.  
  • Larger private or non-profit institutions that manage and have authority over curb space, such as universities, airports, private developments, health systems, and conference centers, are also encouraged to apply.
  • The entity applying should have legal/regulatory authority over the use of curb space.  This is typically a Department of Transportation, Parking Authority or Department of Public Works.

How Do You Apply?

Request the application here. Submit your completed application to challenge@coord.com by February 15, 8PM EST.   

We know you’re busy.  We estimate the application will take about an hour to complete.  The key questions we’d like you to answer are as follows: 

  1. Interests. What interests you in the Digital Curb Challenge? What benefits are you hoping to achieve? 
  2. Program Features. What types of Smart Zone solutions are you most interested in exploring?  
  3. Loading Management. How do you manage commercial loading today? Have you experimented with any new policies or technology in this space recently? 
  4. Stakeholders. What stakeholders inside and outside of your organization, including elected officials and your own leadership, do you expect would support a curb space management pilot program?  

To be respectful of your time, we ask that you limit your responses to each question to 200 words.  If you advance in the process, we’ll delve into more details with you.

What are the Key Milestones for the Digital Curb Challenge?

  • January 12:  Application available
  • February 15:  Applications due
  • March:  Scoping discussions between applicants and Coord
  • May:  Digital Curb Challenge winners announced
  • June - December 2021:  Pilot program planning and launch

If you have any questions, please email challenge@coord.com.



About the First Digital Curb Challenge

Where can I learn more about the Digital Curb Challenge 2020 pilot programs?


Each city’s pilot has its own program website: Aspen, Nashville, Omaha and West Palm BeachWe’ve also written up some early findings from Aspen’s first pilot month.  

You can read about each city’s launch on the company news section of Coord’s blog or check out some media coverage here:

What fleets are using Smart Zones?

More than thirty fleets, including a mix of local and regional businesses and national brands such as US Foods, FedEx, Frito Lay, Sysco, Meadow Gold, FritoLay, Auto-Chlor, Alsco, Shamrock Foods, RNDC, JFC International, and UNFI, are already using Smart Zones in the pilot cities. Many independent commercial drivers are also using Smart Zones. Each city decides on the types of fleets and vehicles for which it is creating Smart Zones.  

Who participated in the Digital Curb Challenge in 2020?

Aspen, Nashville, Omaha and West Palm Beach are Pilot Program Cities in the 2020 Digital Curb Challenge. 

Vancouver, BC, Baltimore, MD, Sarasota, FL, Bend, OR, Norwalk, CT, Fort Smith, AK, Halifax, NS, Portland, ME, Walnut Creek, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Bay Area Metro and Portland, OR are participating in the Digital Curb Challenge as Cohort Cities.  Cohort cities have a front-row seat to the work the Pilot Program Cities are doing.  All participating cities are engaging in information-sharing and educational opportunities designed especially for curb enthusiasts.

Digital Curb Challenge 2021 Requirements

How long would the pilot program last?

We work with each city on program specifics.  In general, we recommend an initial pilot program period of at least six months.  We also recommend a three-month planning period ahead of the pilot’s launch.  In this planning period, Coord and the City work closely on planning, program design and outreach work.

What special infrastructure does my city need to be able to operate Smart Zones?

A city does not need any special infrastructure to operate Smart Zones.  The minimum required infrastructure is to install metal regulation signs to indicate which stretches of curb are Smart Zones. 

My department does not have a budget for new programs in 2021. Can I still apply to the Digital Curb Challenge?

Yes!  There is no fee to get started with Smart Zones.  

A primary benefit of Smart Zones is that they improve the efficiency of commercial loading and reduce conflicts between loading vehicles and other road users.  However, they also generate revenue from fees charged to fleets that use the zones.  

A Smart Zone program does not require dedicated personnel.  Coord’s partner cities have thus far used existing staff for project planning and enforcement.  The Coord team also provides extensive support designing, implementing and evaluating the program, including outreach support.

Why is the Digital Curb Challenge 2021 the “Bounce Back Better” edition?

To say 2020 has been challenging for cities and communities would be an understatement. But these trying times have also highlighted our resilience. Cities and businesses across the country have demonstrated unparalleled creativity and energy. Public agencies and their partners are doing things differently to enable residents to get where they need to go safely and to connect businesses with their customers in new ways. Cities have pivoted quickly and made big impacts with limited resources. And it is in this context that we launch the second Digital Curb Challenge. Can we harness this moment to come back doing things even better than before? Can we do so even when budgets are limited?

About Coord

What is Coord?

Coord is transforming city streets, starting with the curb. Coord is the only comprehensive curb management platform, empowering cities with technology to digitally allocate, price and operate curb space at scale, creating more efficient, safe and equitable streets. Recognized by CNBC Upstart 100 and Fast Company’s Innovation by Design, Coord partners include cities like Seattle, Boston, Pittsburgh, Omaha, Nashville, Aspen, Boulder and West Palm Beach. Coord is based in New York City and backed by Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, Alliance Ventures, Trucks, Urban Us and DB Digital Ventures. For more information, visit coord.com.