Harvard study highlights kerbside pricing as a solution to congestion

Major cities may be able to cut congestion by charging ride-sharing firms for time spent dropping off and picking up passengers, according to a new study published by the Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

The study entitled Reforming Mobility Management: Rethinking the Regulatory Framework urges cities to develop ‘light’ regulations around their own digital platforms in order to help officials assemble information, quickly integrate new technologies, and manage streets in real-time on their own terms.

“While a number of studies have examined the importance of the kerb and how new technologies are disrupting its use, [we sought] to take a step back and explore how cities must re-frame thinking about how they manage mobility,” research author Stephen Goldsmith told Cities Today. “Technology is central to that conversation, but so are the concepts of user-centred design and managing mobility as a service.”

Goldsmith, a Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government at Harvard Kennedy School, acknowledged that “each city will regulate its roads and kerb spaces differently” but said “a shared platform allows public and private vehicles to navigate differences with greater ease and less risk.”

“One can, of course, limit congestion by limiting access; the goal however is to use pricing to do both,” said Goldsmith.

More information about the Harvard study is available in this Cities Today article.