Pittsburgh Pilots Smart Loading Zones With $100K Grant

The city of Pittsburgh, PA has started its year-long Smart Loading Zones pilot program to address curb management challenges in its central business district. The city is using a $100,000 grant it received from Automotus – a curb management software provider.

The city has installed the technology from Automotus at 20 existing loading areas which will be used to analyze real-time curbside activity, automate payment by the minute for the time a vehicle spends at the curb, and share real-time parking availability data with drivers via open APIs. Each vehicle will be invoiced automatically based on its license plate information – with no app or meter needed. There is a one-time registration for drivers that will enable automated payment for curb usage by the minute when their vehicle is at a Smart Loading Zone for the duration of the pilot, and fleet operators can contact the city to register their entire fleets.

The city was prompted to launch this pilot having noted that commercial delivery is growing at an unprecedented rate. This has led to increased congestion, emissions, and safety hazards in urban areas. 

“We’ve seen a dramatic uptick in commercial curb activity in recent years, and that has only increased more dramatically during the pandemic,” said Erin Clark, a policy advisor with Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Transportation. “We not only have cars being parked there and delivery vehicles, but we have Ubers, Lyfts, transportation network companies, food deliveries, parcel deliveries…. We see a lot of double-parking, a lot of idling for longer than is necessary, which creates safety and environmental concerns.”

The program is expected to:

  • align parking and loading policies with real-time data;
  • decrease emissions from unnecessary idling and circling;
  • reduce parking-caused traffic by 20% and double-parking by 60%;
  • generate additional revenue from parking and loading;
  • increase parking turnover for restaurants and small businesses;
  • improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and other users; and
  • increase delivery efficiency and reduce dwell time.