1.1b Understanding Demand for Curb Space and Access for New York City Deliveries.

Project Number


Project Summary

This project is now part of 5.1a: Decomposing the Home-Based Delivery Supply Chain.


Understanding Demand for Curb Space and Access for New York City Deliveries

Project Status

In progress



Topic Area

Integrated Freight and Passenger Systems

P.I. Name & Address

Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP)
Columbia University
1172 Amsterdam Avenue
400 Avery Hall, MC 356
New York, NY 10027
United States


This research examines the interactions of goods movement and residential buildings.  A strong relationship between building size (number of units) and delivery activities is expected, but other factors influencing delivery activities are unknown. Building age, income, road traffic, curb access and other factors are observed and analyzed. The results will have implications for building design, zoning, traffic management, curbside parking and public safety.


  1. Data Collection

The approximate duration is three weeks and will take place in September and October 2014.  Two students will do field observations with traffic counters and video at several buildings in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.  The researchers will observe for time of day deliveries, curb usage, off-street loading and unloading, pedestrian activities and other curbside activities.

Additional data will be collected from building managers, Census data, New York City zoning and transportation maps, and other publicly available sources.  New York City maintains many databases as part of their Open Data programs.  These will be used as needed.

  1. Analysis of traffic and crash stats

As part of the Open Data program for New York City, crash statistics and parking violations are available for spatial and economic analysis. It is expected that areas with high levels of violations relative to other parts of the city will also have high levels of delivery activity.  It is plausible, however, that violations are loosely correlated with actual infractions. Implications of actual violations compared with where violations are expected will be discussed.

  1. Other analysis

Other analysis examines how goods movement affects pedestrian and cycling activities and safety, building design and function, access to the curb for taxicabs and ridesharing, and traffic flow.

  1. Potential policy recommendations

This research will inform multiple areas of policy. The primary area of interest is allocating curb space. While parking management for passenger cars receives attention from planners and local officials, curb access is a major concern for deliveries. As cities promote denser residential and mixed-use development, allocation of street and curb space will have to adapt for non-passenger car use. A secondary area of policy is traffic management.  Goods movements and curb access affect traffic flow through double parking and frequent stops. These activities affect local congestion, safety and traffic flow. Potential other effects include air quality and noise.

Policy recommendations including regulatory and pricing strategies to manage multiple uses at the curb, especially goods movement, will be evaluated.

  1. Final Report

This research is ongoing. Initial results were presented at the ACSP conference in November, 2014. A final report and paper for publication will be completed in spring 2015. Results of this research will be submitted for presentation at multiple conferences in 2015.