Act 2 for curbFlow: Virtualizing the Physical Curb at Scale
Following curbFlow’s two successful partnerships in Washington DC and Columbus, OH, where we identified and were granted “hotspot” curb space locations to invite commercial operators to reserve curb space on demand for deliveries — we called them managed curbFlows — our team made a startling discovery: Restaurant and retail merchants actually loved that curb space was repurposed from on-street parking to digitized loading zones.
Turns out, over the last several years, merchants said they realize that:
- Customers and employees often visit their establishment by modes other than their own car, so on-street parking is less important
- Their business is increasingly dependent on more efficient inbound and especially outbound deliveries
- “Chaos at the curb” is bad for retail business: if there’s double-parking and congestion in front of an establishment, people are less likely to visit
So, we asked merchants if they would host our simple computer vision devices (“CVDs”) in their storefronts to identify available curb space in real time. Overwhelmingly, merchants encouraged us to install the CVDs and just before Covid-19 hit in March, we deployed hundreds of our devices in DC and Columbus to test our network. For example, Manny & Olga’s Pizza, the popular local delivery and carry-out restaurant, has partnered with us at its 5 locations around the city. “We’re excited to work closely with curbFlow because it will help drivers make their deliveries more quickly and safely,” says Bobby Athanasakis, President.
Image Caption: UPS and several others using a managed curbFlow in Washington DC in August 2019. curbFlow registered over 6,300 drivers from over 900 companies in three months, reducing double parking by 64% vs. before the curbFlows existed.