Five Lessons in Leading Curb Policy

June 28, 2024

Strong city leadership is essential to leading any curb management program. The OMF recently hosted a Curb Management for Policymakers webinar featuring an introduction from the legendary Donald Shoup, author of the High Cost of Free Parking. Panelists included former mayor of Indianapolis, Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Millicent Williams and the OMF’s Technical Development Specialist, Mitch Vars.

If you missed the webinar, check the full recording here and find the slide deck:


The whole session is worth a watch, and we’ve distilled the following key lessons for policymakers based on the presentation from the OMF’s Technical Development Specialist, Mitch Vars:

1. Designate ‘Parking Lanes’ as ‘Curb Lanes’

This is the first step in rethinking how the curb functions. As long as your curb is designated solely as a parking lane, any change to the policy will be seen as taking parking away. 

2. Incorporate CDS as a Requirement in Curb Policy, Regulations, Permits, RFPs and Tenders

In order to create an integrated curb management program, a consistent standard for data is key. The Curb Data Specification exists for exactly this purpose, and cities have the ability to mandate their data be formatted appropriately by writing CDS usage into policy, regulations, permits and more. 

3. Prioritize Curb Access over Vehicle Storage

Think about how to provide space for new use cases at the curb. Curbs can transition back into vibrant, multi-use spaces and this starts by prioritizing curb access over parking.

4. Price the Curb Appropriately 

If it’s cheaper to park on the street than it is at a lot or in the garage, then you’ll be encouraging drivers to circle the block to find cheap parking. Pricing includes more than just parking and can encompass vehicle loading zone parking and other applications as well.

5. Begin a Digital Curb Inventory

Most cities already have existing curb data. A good first step is to identify all of your existing assets and then map them into the Curb Data Specification to determine what data you already have that can be translated into a standardized format.

Cities are at the forefront of leading this next era in curb management. The OMF’s Curb Data Specification is a key tool for cities to use, adopt, and shape for their use cases. Our working group meetings are open to the public and are a great opportunity for cities and vendors alike to collaborate on advancing curb management practices.


Want to learn more? Membership in the OMF is free for cities and is a great collaboration opportunity for vendors leading the field of curb digitization. Get in touch to join

If you’re curious about CDS and would like to learn more, watch our previous CDS 101 Webinar and consider attending a CDS Working Group Meeting to learn more. 

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