Philadelphia will be testing out a new pilot program that will apply digital management of commercial loading activity in the city. The Smart Loading Zones project will focus on 21 loading zones in District 1 as “Smart Loading Zones” (or “Smart Zones”). The SmartCityPHL team, the Department of Streets, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Philadelphia Parking Authority worked together to launch this pilot.
“Smart Loading Zones can provide a reliable and efficient way for delivery drivers to safely use the curb space,” said Smart Cities Director Akshay Malik. “Additionally, they can help reduce unsafe and illegal parking in Philadelphia. This six-month pilot is aimed to help the city explore technology that can improve the user experience for all curb users. It is a SmartCityPHL goal to ensure that new technology works for our residents before fully adopting it and scaling it up.”
Drivers can sign up for an account via the Pebble Driver App (available via the Google Play Store and Itunes App Store). Within the app, drivers will be able to see Smart Loading Zones on a map, reserve a Smart Zone if they’re within 15 minutes of arrival, navigate to the zone via turn-by-turn directions, and pay via a preferred payment method. Commercial vehicles will only be charged for the length of time they are stopped in the loading zone. The reservation fee for Smart Zones will be $3 per hour, and prorated up to one hour.
“Currently, the city doesn’t know how loading zones are used in Philadelphia and how many people need to use them,” said Deputy Managing Director for Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability Mike Carroll. “This pilot aims to better understand the usage of loading zones so that the city can figure out ways to improve traffic safety and reduce congestion. Overall, the project aims to identify how loading zones play into the larger picture of Philadelphia’s traffic and streets usage.”
The Smart Loading Zone Pilot Project will launch on October 17, 2022 and end in April 2023. Drivers who park in Smart Loading Zones without reserving the space will receive a ticket and may be towed (all loading zones are tow away zones).
Earlier this year, the City issued an RFP for technology solutions offering curb management of commercial deliveries. Pebble at Sidewalk Labs (part of Google) was awarded the contract to conduct a six-month pilot in coordination with the city of Philadelphia and the PPA.