The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) $2 million through the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grant program. This grant will fund a pilot program to develop a digital inventory of curb assets and regulations in the Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) area.
By digitally mapping curb features such as meters, markings, access ramps, and transit and bike infrastructure, the inventory enhances LADOT’s ability to manage and prioritize curb use to advance the city’s priorities for access, sustainability, equity, and economic growth.
This grant will help LA identify the best ways to ease curb congestion and the economic and air quality impacts that it causes.—Mayor Karen Bass
LADOT is charged with managing the public right of way to facilitate the safe movement of goods and people throughout the City of Los Angeles. In the last decade, Los Angeles has seen a proliferation of new transportation modes—such as rideshare, shared micro-mobility, robotic and app-based delivery services, and EV charging stations—that compete for curb space alongside traditional uses such as parking, delivery, and public transit. LADOT also introduced new curb uses to support businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as expanded outdoor dining on streets and sidewalks.
(In addition, Los Angeles has the largest homeless population in the US, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): 65,111 in the LA Continuum of Care (which includes LA County) in 2022. The 2022 homeless count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) estimated that 41,980 people were experiencing homelessness in the City of LA, up 1.7% from 2020. The Homeless Count also revealed a 17% increase in tents, vehicles, and makeshift shelters on LA County’s streets and sidewalks from 2020.)
Through “Code the Curb”, LADOT will inventory sidewalk assets to develop a system that allows the department to manage curb space comprehensively and dynamically.
LADOT is a member of the Open Mobility Foundation (OMF) which includes the cities of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Miami-Dade County, and is committed to tackling common problems through shared technology.
Through OMF and LADOT’s existing Code the Curb pilot, the department has already begun developing a shared, open-source Curb Data Specification (CDS). This allows cities to provide technical implementation assistance and facilitate peer-to-peer learning and knowledge exchange. Together, these cities will digitally gather and analyze curb information to reduce congestion, enhance livability, and improve safety and equity on city streets.
Downtown LA was selected for this grant program due to its high concentration of multi-functional curb spaces and the opportunity to drive economic growth through improved curb access. LADOT will begin the pilot in the Summer of 2023 with the expected completion of the database at the end of the 18-month period covered by the grant. Information gathered and retained will only pertain to physical infrastructure such as street signs, curb markings, meters, and access ramps. Personal identifying information such as license plates or images of persons is excluded from data collection.
This database will serve as a starting point for LADOT to standardize curb space management citywide.