Help! New Guidance Available on Curbside Management

Daniel Herrig

As we evaluate our streets for greater effectiveness, curb space has come to the forefront in urban areas.

The transition zone between vehicular movement and local access, the curb space is in high demand through the development of new mobility options and rise of e-commerce. Historically reserved for car parking and loading, this flex zone between vehicular travel lanes and pedestrian space has the potential for many other uses that may better benefit the community, such as sidewalk cafes, rain gardens, e-commerce package delivery zones, transportation network company (TNC) loading/unloading zones, bike lanes, and shared mobility or transit hubs.

These new and emerging demands have created challenges for cities that need addressed through planning, design, and policy. Responding to this, the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has developed the Curbside Management Practitioners Guide.

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on best practices for curb space allocation policy and implementation based primarily upon the outcomes of tested strategies. It presents a framework and toolbox for analyzing and optimizing curb space in this time of change with the aim of prioritizing and maximizing community values and safety.

Building on the work of the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Curb Appeal: Curbside Management Strategies for Improving Transit Reliability, the guide helps city decision-makers to understand the various functions and objectives within the public right-of-way to balance needs and priorities. The guide references tools and applications in use by cities within the United States, which have proven successful in managing the curb space, including planning and implementation processes, access to loading/unloading zones, freight and delivery strategies, parking strategies, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian and public space activation.


Finally, the guide helps cities understand the selection process in balancing these users and objectives, by diving into these five steps:

  1. Inventory existing conditions
  2. Identify land use and activity considerations to develop modal prioritization
  3. Identify appropriate treatment alternatives
  4. Assess and present alternatives for public feedback
  5. Refine and implement treatments

As many of these projects retrofit existing infrastructure, pilot projects and project effectiveness criteria are also important to analyze the impact of projects and make changes over time. The guide concludes with potential performance measures which align with city goals.

From planning-level to implementation and on-going evaluation, ITE’s new Curbside Management Practitioners Guide is a useful resource to help cities balance priorities within the right-of-way. As new demands for this space emerge, it’s important for cities to stay ahead in planning and allocating this space.

For questions about this topic, contact Daniel Herrig at