THE PARTNERSHIP WILL SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES WHILE REDUCING CONGESTION AND IMPROVING SAFETY IN LOADING ZONES
Park Omaha has partnered with curb management company Automotus to deploy 100 “smart loading zones” across the city, with the goal of reducing congestion and improving parking turnover and curbside pick-up for local businesses.
For the project, Automotus will use first-of-its-kind computer vision technology to track and analyze demand at the city’s curbs. Omaha was an awardee of Automotus’ 2022 Commercial Curb Challenge, and as such, Automotus will work with the city to provide curb use data, real-time curb availability, and automated, pay-by-the-minute access to designated smart loading zones for commercial vehicles. The project will support the city in implementing new policies and developing dynamic pricing that reflects the real-time needs of all curb users and incentivizes more efficient, safer stops for delivery and ride-hailing drivers.
With delivery vehicle traffic on the rise, curb management has become more important than ever in Omaha, and Park Omaha is building a strategy for curb management as part of its overall parking management plan. Thus far, the city has focused on loading and unloading zones and has previously participated in a pilot program that assisted in mapping curb zones.
Automotus’ project will take this initiative a step further. Utilizing a camera system powered by artificial intelligence and algorithms, the project will allow the city visibility into when, where, and how people are using curb spaces in Omaha.
Unlike a traditional camera system, this technology only captures data that is de-identified, using it to train the technology and inform smarter policies. The vehicle license plate information is only used for enforcement and processing payments. Personal information and raw video feeds are not stored or shared, and data cannot be sold to any third party.
Data and analysis associated with the project will also give the city insights into the amount of time vehicles spend in certain areas and what type of vehicles are using curb space.
“This is a way for Park Omaha to understand how people are using loading zones,” said Ken Smith, the city’s parking and mobility manager. “This is the first of many steps we will take to optimize curb management in Omaha.”
Partners in the project also include Omaha by Design and ConnectGO, the Omaha Chamber’s transportation effort. Scott Dobbe, the executive director of Omaha by Design, said the partnership is unlocking new potential and allows the city to implement safer, more flexible transportation and curbside management systems.
“The advanced hardware, software, and consulting services offered by the program introduce opportunities for partner community organizations such as ours to better study and ultimately implement more equitable, accessible, and sustainable transportation solutions,” Dobbe said.
Stephen Osberg, the director of Transportation & Urban Development for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, seconded that.
“The opportunities offered by the Commercial Curb Challenge directly align with our vision for a prosperous and equitable Omaha developed through our outreach,” he said. “The resources offered through the challenge will allow our city to apply cutting-edge technology to better understand and actively manage the conditions along our curbs, some of the most valuable space in our urban core.”
The smart zones are aimed to address some of the busiest sections of the city and are scheduled to launch in 2022.
“Curbside congestion has been an issue that’s plagued cities for years now, only exacerbated by the rapidly expanding number of stakeholders at the curb,” said Jordan Justus, CEO of Automotus. “We’re thrilled that Omaha has taken the leap to address this issue, and we anticipate that this program will serve as a blueprint for other cities across the country to rethink how space is allocated at the curb.”
Founded in 2017, Automotus uses first-of-its-kind computer vision technology to help cities, airports, fleets, and small businesses manage the unprecedented rise in congestion and emissions from commercial vehicle traffic. Their curb management solutions help their partners make data-driven policy decisions, fully automate payment for the vehicle (un)loading and parking, and make accessible, real-time curb availability data for drivers. From cities to residents and small businesses, their solutions are meant to benefit everyone by making our communities safer, healthier, and more sustainable places to live and move.
About Park Omaha:
As a division of the City of Omaha’s Public Works department, Park Omaha’s team is tasked with managing the Parking & Mobility division efficiently. Park Omaha generates enough revenue to support operations, maintenance, and improvements while balancing parking supply and demand and opportunities for mobility and curb management.
Park Omaha’s goal is to create positive experiences, whether they are small weekday trips to a store or big weekend adventures with multiple stops throughout town. The division fuels our community’s economy by enabling smooth commerce.