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Communities / Data / Delivery / Ecommerce / Municipal government

Philly will pilot software allowing delivery drivers to reserve a parking spot

Companies that can apply data to managing the flow of traffic and parking are encouraged to apply through the City's RFP.

Cars, parked. (Photo by Flickr user Dan Reed, used under a Creative Commons license)

The ecommerce boom that has persisted through most of 2020 and 2021 has no end in sight, and with the holidays approaching, you can expect to see even more delivery trucks in your neighborhood.

But as many Philadelphians know, this increase in online shopping has caused even more traffic issues downtown and in residential neighborhoods. Add ride sharing into the mix, and you end up with clogged city streets with drivers, bikers and buses competing for space. On already busy corridors, like Chestnut Street, the City of Philadelphia has already piloted a project called the Loading Zone Pilot. In 2019, it created loading regulations from the 600 block to the 2000 block.

To further combat this problem, the City is now looking for tech solutions that would allow for a digital map of the curb space and and a reservation-based loading zone for delivery drivers, WHYY first reported. The pilot, called Smart Loading Zones, will test five different software options to make loading more efficient and user-friendly.

“Philadelphia has several competing interests vying for curb space — parcel delivery trucks, food delivery trucks, passenger pickup/drop-off, rideshare delivery vehicles, and many others,” the request for proposal says. “This demand has grown exponentially over the past decade. Managing such high demand requires a data-driven approach to digitally codify who uses what and when, in a way that smartphones can read and an internet-based platform can distribute necessary information to all stakeholders.”

The Managing Director’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, & Sustainability (OTIS) is partnering with the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) to seek tech solutions for this pilot project. The pilot will test five types of software over three phases and aim to make loading activity in the City more “efficient and digitally managed.” You can find the request for proposal at eContract Philly under Office of Innovation and Technology contracts, contract #21211116142501.

“We’re open to working with companies that can bring some big data approaches to trying to manage this,” Christopher Puchalsky, director of policy and strategic initiatives of OTIS told WHYY. “So that if you’re a shipper, for example, you could have information on what spots are available and even the possibility of reserving those spots ahead of time in an area, so that you can plan your routes.”

Interested parties may send questions to Akshay Malik, the infrastructure innovation coordinator at OIT, at through Dec. 10, and responses will be posted online on Dec. 21. Proposals for this pilot program are due through eContracts Philly by Jan. 12, 2022 by 5 p.m. A visual pitch presentation will take place on Feb. 1, and a contract will be awarded that month. The pilot will take place from March 2022 to March 2023.

Companies: City of Philadelphia

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