Once a forlorn and forgotten piece of infrastructure, the lowly curb has become an essential and contested swath of real estate in cities around the globe.
City planners are working with data suppliers to figure out the best way to maximize the space as they try to improve mobility.
Whether because of increases in package deliveries, rising numbers of passengers entering and exiting vehicles hailed with apps or heavier use of scooters on nearby sidewalks, more companies than ever are vying for curb space. Combined with motorists who park their vehicles in spaces along curbs, the sudden influx of users has created a predicament for city planners and transportation officials.
On one hand, they're quickly realizing that curbs are city-owned assets with significant value. On the other, how they now choose to allocate space among competing interests may reshape present-day transportation and affect the growth of future mobility services.
Their decisions might even say a lot about the cities themselves.