When you think of the evolution of society and advanced technology, sidewalks and curbs probably aren’t the first things that light up in your mind, but you are likely seeing new things on the sidewalks jump out at you in your daily life more and more. The recent Curbivore conference in Los Angeles (https://curbivore.co/) showcased the massive explosion in demand for the use of sidewalks and curbs for everything from outdoor dining to last-mile delivery and transportation. Cities and communities around the globe are benefiting more and more from these new services and offerings, but at what cost to the life we’re used to with sidewalks calmly reserved for pedestrians?
Sidewalks and curbs have historically been lacking in regulations and have been freely used. Such is still the case, as cities must rapidly play catch up to deal with this growing issue and figure out how to share this space effectively using new and elegant solutions to help them do it. With this onslaught of new applications and technologies, if we’re not careful, we’re soon to have robots, scooters, bikes, and remote vendors piling up on sidewalks around cities everywhere. We must find a way for these technologies to live harmoniously with pedestrians, children, and everyone else that uses them daily. How do we avoid the sidewalk becoming a jammed-up snail-lane resulting in “Curb-ageddon” and ensure that sidewalks are safe and flowing freely?