Kerbside-1100x400
Road safety
Urban mobility
Parking
Thursday, 04 February 2021
Kevin
Borras

Race for kerb space 2021: the final frontier

Data was briefly the new gold. Now, it seems, it’s kerb space. ISO standard (ISO/TS4448: Intelligent transport systems - Sidewalk and kerb operations for automated vehicles) is on its way. Experts from the UK, Netherlands and Canada explain to Kevin Borras how the humble pavement or sidewalk has increased in value exponentially with the impending arrival of autonomous delivery drones and a pandemic-led encroachment into what used to be dead real estate.

Congestion charge for use of kerbside

“I think cities will start to realise that Amazon is making a great deal of money using a city’s assets and increasing the number of vehicle movements and adding to congestion but hadn’t necessarily been paying their way. How and where they are taxed is also an issue. Cities are just starting to realise that the likes of Amazon, Uber and Lyft are making a great deal of money using, but not paying for, a city’s kerbside assets. Technology now exists to enable all towns and cities to meet their specific environmental and economic objectives, while monetising the use of their kerbside assets in a fair and equitable way.”

Neil Herron, founder and CEO of Newcastle, UK-based Grid Smarter Cities, a company that connects city businesses, services, people and technology, is at the forefront of an urban revolution that is digitizing kerb space and already the spectre of the world’s biggest retailer is looming large on the horizon. Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has stated that she wants the e-commerce giants to pay for the carbon emissions and additional, unwelcome traffic congestion that online shopping generates in her city. That won’t be a short discussion, that’s for sure.

“The Ubers and Lyfts of this world are using the city's assets and infrastructure for free. Their drivers are circling around the city waiting for their fare and because they can't be stuck at the kerb, they have to drive around when they're empty. When they do pick up a passenger they're in congestion of their own making,” opines the impassioned Herron, a former market trader now turned tech entrepreneur.

“There needs to be a hyperlocal congestion charge for these companies. So every time they pick up or set down, using the kerbside, they're going to be charged and as long as the city is brave enough to say ‘Sorry Uber, but kissing the curb incurs a cost’, then you’ve got them paying something for the upkeep of the infrastructure.”

“There needs to be a hyperlocal congestion charge for companies like Uber and Lyft.”

Herron advocates hypothecating the revenue stream and using that to support and fund other transport and micro-mobility solutions that could include supported travel for disabled users, for example. From a social equity perspective the ‘disruptors’ are in a market where they have a low-cost entry point versus the cost of a Black Cab or fully accessible Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV).

“You can't be allowing the likes of Uber to come in and exploit all of the city's assets and create a mobility solution that is meant to provide a societal benefit when it actually causes more congestion and greater inequity. If their argument is ‘but we're using electric vehicles’ then that's all well and good but you’re still holding up an 18-tonne diesel cement truck with all your Uber vehicles circling around, causing the guy to drive at six miles an hour, idle at traffic lights and pollute the city.”

The taxi sector is, quite rightly, raising the issue that it is heavily regulated and has a battle on its hands to compete on a level playing field when the Uber entry point is merely a car and an app, compared to the ‘Knowledge’ (a series of exacting tests on routes and landmarks that must be completed by all black cab drivers before they can get a licence to work in London that can take up to three years to pass) and a fully accessible vehicle investment.

Kerb space warriors assemble

Amazon’s vested interested in the future use of our pavements is there for all to see. There’s a battle going on under your feet and the chances are you aren’t aware of it. The prize is kerb space and there are an increasing number of competitors bidding for their slice of it. As well as the obvious actors such as pedestrians, ambulant disabled people are also jostling for position with vehicles legally parked on the pavement, children on scooters (and an exponentially rising number of adults on scooters), parents with buggies, pushchairs and prams of varying widths, those in need of the aid of walking sticks, frames and crutches, and postal workers and delivery personnel darting across the flow of foot traffic. But we now need to add two more players into the battlefield.

Bars, cafés and restaurants are having to make more use of the kerb space to comply with Covid-19 restrictions. Their establishment’s footprint is now expanding onto the pavement, sometimes at odds with their best intentions of aiding social distancing and, in the not-too-distant future we’ll see the advent of autonomous delivery bots ferrying goods from driverless logistics trucks into our high streets and shopping districts. Not to mention fleets of robotaxis depositing their human passengers onto the already crowded pavement. This is less Brave New World than it sounds and it’s a global game where there might not be a winner. At least not yet.

ISO standard for ITS - Sidewalk and kerb operations for automated vehicles

Bern Grush, a future mobility expert and author from Toronto, insists that there are important distinctions to be made between simply operating the pavement, coding it and managing it. The multifaceted Grush is also the driving force behind the creation of an ISO standard (ISO/TS4448: Intelligent transport systems - Sidewalk and kerb operations for automated vehicles), with the end goal for this work being the preparation of cities for the coming of a gamut of automated vehicles on our streets, kerbs and sidewalks.

“Today, operating what we call the sidewalk and kerb is handled through schedules, markings, signage, pricing, and regulated enforcement of activities. Each of these activities are currently mediated by a human who may be parking, waiting, riding, walking, sitting, standing, loading, delivering, removing garbage, ploughing snow, washing windows or whatever at the sidewalk or kerb. Furthermore, such humans may be using a wheelchair, have diminished hearing or vision or be otherwise disabled. It’s expected that soon, in addition to all these activities, operating at the kerb will include robotic vehicles such as robotaxis and devices such as sidewalk drones, that will arrive, stop, park, wait and load under sensor, effector, and software control. Often unaccompanied by human passengers or attendants, these machines will need to be prioritized, scheduled, queued, bumped, and re-queued regardless of the presence of human oversight, and all without blocking crosswalks, bicycle lanes, no stopping areas, or transit stops.

“We need to be ready for robots and machines on the kerbside.”

“These machines will need to communicate with each other, signal in ways that humans can interpret for safety, negotiate or grant right-of-way, move at appropriate speeds that will vary with circumstances, pass objects within given tolerances and many more behaviours that we humans take for granted among ourselves when using sidewalks and kerbs. Including when we commit minor infractions that we are less likely to tolerate in the case of these machines. Such blockfaces, when busy, will each be like a tiny, high-turnover, airport terminal. We need to be ready.”

Local counsel: understanding types of permission on the kerb

The kerb space is an area where many interactions take place, whether it's pickup, drop off, loading zones, bus stops, clearways or parking spots. Currently the kerb is a fixed, two-dimensional asset, or liability, whichever you want to look at it, but councils need to be able to look at it in a 3D environment. Understanding the kerb’s vital position as a gateway either from the delivery hinterland or beyond the kerb to the access hinterland is integral to understanding the type of permission or user driven permission stack that will sit above the kerb.

Says Herron: “The jostling for position on the kerbside is a complex issue. You have to start by creating solutions for the siloed operators because the parcel company making a delivery is not the slightest bit interested in what a taxi is doing and not the slightest bit interested in what a scooter is doing until it impacts and impinges on what they're doing.

Practical solutions will allow the DPD, FedEx or UPS drivers to safely and more sustainably deliver 160 parcels in a day instead of 140, for example. “Their interactions with the kerbside known and permitted, leads to better network management, less congestion, fewer miles driven, and reduced air pollution, but also lower driver stress and fewer parking tickets! These are the marginal gains that you get from doing little things a little better.”

“Accidents can be avoided by using technology to deliver a safer and more efficient use of road and kerb space in our cities.”

“Take construction vehicles as an example. They have cement and concrete and steel to deliver as their priority. If a construction vehicle has to cross a cycle lane to enter a site this inevitably brings the possibility of conflict between construction vehicles and cyclists. And tragically some cyclists have been killed. This can be avoided in the future by using technology to deliver a safer and more efficient use of road and kerb space in our cities.”

Dutch courage in smart mobility

Serge Santoo of The Future Mobility Network, an independent team of specialists that works together with scientists, government and industry based in Rotterdam, offers a fascinating insight into the current state of play in the Netherlands. A country that has played host to a variety of smart mobility projects over the last few years, notably Rotterdam’s commitment to electric vehicles, including the delivery fleets of UPS and Heineken.

“From a sustainability point of view the digitisation of the built environment could be a tool to actually realise the goals and ambitions in that field. So these bottom-up and top-down approaches seem to more or less coincide with the digitisation of streets and kerbs. This is exactly the crossroad that we are more or less at now, in the Netherlands at least.”

“Cities have the ability to create commercial waste contracts where the use of low-emission vehicles is prioritised.”

Herron is a great believer in nudge theory and the carrot rather than a stick approach. For certain sectors policies can be created by the city authority mandating certain behaviours, such as the use of prescribed routes or vehicle types in certain areas. Creating a business case driver is an easier way of nudging and effecting behavioural change rather than a blunt, catchall punitive approach.

“Cities have the ability to create commercial waste contracts where the use of low-emission vehicles is prioritised,” Herron believes. “It can be the same for the construction sector as it’s a single, discrete sector that can have modern requirements included within a Construction Logistics Plan, with an appropriate transition period, for example. What we're trying to do is the modelling, so that the transition from diesel Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) to electric HGVs is an obvious and practical commercial decision.”

This is precisely what Herron’s GRID Smarter Cities are doing on a freight traffic control project in the London Borough of Croydon.

“We worked with the council to assign pre-agreed holding areas to avoid trucks blocking roads, spending time circling or parking illegally, both of which upsets neighbours and results in parking tickets. The simple dashboard we developed leads to a more transparent and compliant use of site traffic, highlighting efficiencies for developer, contractors and council alike.

“What we're trying to do, is to measure the difference between a vehicle arriving at a construction site, being turned away and driving around the block or parking up illegally, to a vehicle being immediately directed to a holding bay. You now know that you've got that vehicle in situ, you can draw it in as and when you want it. Demonstrating the operational benefits and efficiencies creates the business case for the developer, the contractor and for the council there is increased transparency of safety and compliance. “It's in everyone’s best interests and everyone benefits,” he concludes.

Mobility innovation: risk and reward

At the end of September The Future Mobility Network implemented a self-driving robot system in Breda, one of the smaller cities in the Netherlands.

“This is also part of the programme because you can make the public space more smart, more intelligent, but the devices within it have to have a connection with the more intelligent ‘outer space’ as well,” explains Santoo. “But in any case, innovation and starting new things inevitably causes some sort of failure. The question is, is it an acceptable risk? And is it acceptable in terms of the foreseen advantages and benefits to us as a society as a whole to overcome these difficulties in this very early stage? This is something that commercial entities and governmental bodies have to co-decide upon.”

The risk that Santoo highlights was perfectly illustrated by an incident in New York in late 2019 where a delivery bot operated by Starship collided with a pedestrian who was walking with sticks and knocked her over. Starship, the ground delivery drones co-founded by Skype’s Ahti Heinla, briefly abandoned their US programme. Is that the kind of thing that is inevitable or is there some way in which the notion of coding the kerb comes in where such scenarios can be avoided?

“Was the Starship accident inevitable or can such scenarios be avoided by coding the kerb?”

Santoo: “When such a digital framework is being set up the chances are that the instances of these types of incidents could decrease. The disabled woman in the Starship case has the right of way on the kerb. It’s a big issue and it seems that nobody has the definitive answer to it yet.”

Neil Herron agrees, up to a point.

“The use of delivery robots is being tolerated by cities at present on a test and trial basis because it’s seen as innovation. Once they become a nuisance to the public the politicians will drop them like a stone if they affect their ability to remain in office.”

He also has his reservations about the suitability of land drones for goods and medicine delivery in a typical urban setting.

“What if you live on the 20th floor of a block of flats? The robot can't get entry because it can't press the buzzer to get you to come down. You can do notification of imminent arrival and a geofence breach that tells you your parcel is going to be there but you still have to come down to collect it. That’s a great inconvenience if you’re disabled.”

A raw nerve has clearly been touched. “The average parcel delivery vehicle carries 140 parcels and the driver has to be in and out of the van at multiple stops, negotiating steps, buzzers, traffic, people, puddles, signatures and intercoms; picture that being done by a robot one or two parcels at a time – back and forth to a van to be resupplied by a human! Does the Emperor really have any clothes or just a sustainable business case to buy some?”

What if drivers have, say, 10 deliveries to the same block? Whereas a human can go into the building and get permission from the concierge to put the deliveries in the lockers which are typically downstairs in the reception area, how do you do that with a robot delivery?

“Delivery robots may have a place on university campuses or in large manufacturing facilities but if you went on Dragon’s Den with something like Starship you’d get eaten alive!”

Who is in charge of the kerb?

One question that affects every aspect of the era of kerbside digitization, with particular reference to responsibility, is who or what type of authority should oversee 'ground traffic control' operations? Does it need an Overlord? A Kerb Tsar, perhaps?

Says Martijn Pater of Dutch impact strategy firm Fronteer: “This is the cool part! This is where the innovation will happen. It's a grey area and it's the same for healthcare, for example - who's ultimately responsible? Is it government? Or is it the private sector? And should they collaborate or not? And I like the notion of asking ‘who owns the air?’ Legally above a certain height it's all regulated, but below that height it is not. So I think it's a fascinating 10 years that we're looking at now because who is going to claim that? Who can put a stake in the ground and why? I think that's what will drive a lot of the energy and enthusiasm in this space. It's a perfect premise for enormous innovation.”

“Who can put a stake in the ground in the next ten years and why?”

“At the very highest level, this oversight is a matter of governance,” says Grush. “So, a municipal, county, regional, state or provincial authority would be responsible, accordingly. Operations might be contracted to telecommunications operators, and who does those activities will be a matter of procurement and governing oversight. What is critical is that such systems follow a standard so that logistics systems and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) dispatch systems are operable across a mega-region, country or continent with a minimum number of data translations and interchanges.”

Santoo, Pater and his Fronteer colleague Iskander Tange are jointly working on an ambitious project, Coding The Curbs, that focuses on making the most efficient use of the limited space in cities, from social, spatial and financial perspectives.

“Cities are going to get more crowded, accessibility is decreasing, and there's more and more need for kerb space management, so how do you use the kerb space? How can you make flexible use possible?” Tange asks.

“It's actually a matter of connecting the physical layer to the digital layer. It could be delivery robots, it could be shared mobility services, and we make sure accessibility of the surrounding streets are correct and that businesses can thrive.”

“Cities are going to get more crowded, accessibility is decreasing, and there's more and more need for kerb space management.”

Pater interjects: “Essentially it’s an agenda for space. You can reserve slots. That's very simplistic but it’s how someone at a municipality explained it back to us. ‘Oh, so it's basically a Google agenda for a parking space?’ and we said ‘yeah, pretty much.’"

“There isn’t one solution to all the thousands of kerb space-related problems that we found, of course,” explains Tange. “If you think about how complex cities are, and how complex every single street is, there’s a thousand different challenges on every street. What we're doing with Coding the Curbs is thinking about what kind of challenges are we going to tackle and what do we need in order to tackle those challenges? We’re currently tackling one use case and trying to scale it up, and we’re very hopeful that the first solutions will be ready to go in about a year.”

Can we just copy-paste urban mobility solutions?

Serge Santoo is of the opinion that a solution works in one city it follows that it works in another. “We all have the same infrastructure, we like the same mobile phones. The only thing that is different is local law, and maybe local customs. So what you want is actually a scalable product that is replicable in thousands of cities globally. The cities I have in mind are those such as Paris and Berlin that are innovative when it comes to mobility. They really want to try new stuff but also want to increase deliverability.”

It’s not just European cities for whom digitising their kerbside would be transformational. “Sao Paulo is the perfect example. There is this very interesting category that I’ll call ‘big problem cities’. And then there's a third category. And that's a bit of a crazy one as it’s new cities. Look at Saudi Arabia where the city of NEOM will be built from nothing in the desert, where a million people will live by 2030 [and will, according to the publicity, be 33 times bigger than New York City]. This is an ideal project. And it's going to be a circular city, where you can build the systems from scratch. So I think there's loads of different city topologies that can immediately benefit. In the city of the future, the resident comes first. That is why Coding The Curbs focuses on them. They are the most important stakeholders in designing the streets, mobility and the digital layer. In collaboration with policymakers, governments and companies, we look for human solutions.”

The race for kerb space

The concept of coding the kerb dovetails neatly with the notion of RoadSpaceTime, coined by Texxi founder Eric Masaba, the auctioning of slots on a motorway or highway, an outside-the-box take on congestion pricing. Grid Smarter Cities’ solution KerbTM looks at a permissions hierarchy, creating a series of interoperable solutions, such as bookable bays, risk-assessed ‘virtual’ loading bays, and/or zonal permissions.

Extending dwell times for certain operators to use their vehicles as micro-hubs makes more sense than multiple stop-drop-stop- drop activity. By reducing non-compliance, and replacing it with a small dispensation charge, the stick becomes an operationally beneficial carrot, saving time and fuel and therefore cost, as Herron explains.

“Basically the Kerb solution suite is an interconnected family of pre-approved dispensation processes for certain vehicles to be at a certain location or in a certain zone at a certain time. What Grid does with Kerb is to create digitised, risk assessed pre-approved locations based on vehicle type and desired activity. This can then sit as a digital permissions wrapper above the kerb space – broken down by flexible tariffs depending on time, vehicle type, purpose, and city priorities. Pricing variability is a key factor to help nudge use and behaviours.”

Kerb space: a scarce resource

Iskandar Tange believes that what’s required is a flexible pricing mechanism for the scarce amount of available kerb space available in a city that could stimulate the use of that space.

“A flexible pricing mechanism for the scarce amount of available kerb space available in a city could stimulate the use of space.”

“If there's more need for parking space, or a loading zone, or an extra table in front of the restaurant, so people can enjoy their drinks on a Friday afternoon. That's interchangeable but the question is, who sets the price? And who regulates the system? Something like Kerb is only a means to manage these interactions. We’d be highly interested in co-developing such a system but I would not assume that we would own it.

“There are so many questions about ownership. If public services are run smoothly and efficiently, everybody's happy. But if that's not the case, no one's happy. So how far do you go in terms of possession and making it public? I would say that for the next five years it will remain the case where the market itself is inventing stuff and collaborating with governments. However, the nearer we come to 2030, which is a fixed deadline in terms of CO2 emissions so it will have to change as it will become mandatory for a government or a municipality to enforce.”

Monetisation is an outcome of management and it may be that the amenity value from a ‘parklet’ outweighs the monetisation from a series of loading or parking permits. However, there clearly needs to be a balance.

“Selling road space slots is only one step removed from selling kerb space slots.”

Neil Herron is of the opinion that selling road space slots is only one step removed from selling kerb space slots, that it's a similar process with a similar philosophy. “It’s done at airports where you sell the premium landing slots, it may well be that you can have certain times of the day full access to the city and other times of the day it's prescribed vehicles only. Mandating consolidation centres and bidding for ‘last mile plus’ and access to the kerb becomes a tradable commodity.

“Does it really make sense to have 10 operators delivering to a single geographical location with half-empty vehicles? It needs to be broken down by sector so we just need a little bit of a step back,” Herron implores. “When we first collaborated with the construction sector we didn’t really know that much about construction. So for the first six months we listened to the sector, and used a design-led approach to refine our solution to better fit its needs.”

“Does it really make sense to have 10 operators delivering to a single geographical location with half-empty vehicles?”

Airports have addressed this situation by calculating the value of the available premium slots so why could this principle not be applied to a city? “If you want to make premium deliveries into a city in the premium areas, then it may well be that you get companies bidding for that last mile delivery,” says Herron. “And rather than saying ‘we've got a congestion zone where we're going to charge 100 operators to come in’, you just have a zone where you charge the operators who shouldn't be there to deliver those parcels. There are thousands of people whose health has been impacted by poor air quality which is caused by poor last mile delivery policy and not addressing the air quality targets.”

There is potentially a financial ticking time-bomb for city authorities who fail to address their air quality targets and that could be the opening up of legal claims for those whose health has been impacted by such failures. This is a sobering thought for many and makes the challenges that cities face more pressing and therefore intransigence and inactivity is not an option. Doing the wrong thing, warns Herron, could be just as bad and waste time prevaricating.

“Simple interventions may be practical and impactful and deliver the sector marginal gains that effect change and create benefits, but they may not be as sexy as headline grabbing ‘smart’ innovation. Simple and intuitive will carry more on the journey towards change than seemingly more clever and complicated interventions. As we are seeing from Covid-19 the increased complexity of messaging leads to confusion and reduced adoption.

“Simple is as simple does. When we get too smart for our own good and overthink the process, we make simple things needlessly complicated, and outcomes suffer as a result.”

Forward thinking for sustainable cities

Fronteer’s Martijn Pater is quick to dispel something of an urban myth. “In the Netherlands we have a nice image as a green country, but it's completely incorrect. We aren’t a green country at all, in fact we are one of the lowest in Europe. I think only Malta is lower when it comes to green energy production. But what we do have is ambitious, forward-thinking cities. Amsterdam has now adopted the so-called ‘Doughnut Economy’. A visual framework for sustainable development that is shaped like a doughnut or lifebelt and combines the concept of ‘planetary boundaries’ with the complementary concept of ‘social boundaries’. It serves as a framework that allows for broader strokes in terms of getting things like this done. And I think, once the city wants to take control, to take ownership, it can go quickly.”

How does Bern Grush, innovation director at Harmonize Mobility, see the integration of different uses of the curb space affecting the design of the physical space? “This is a very important question. The answer is creative design innovation. The standard will consider various uses and how those uses are described and signalled. In any one space, uses might vary over the day or season, or they may change as buildings are added or repurposed. Hence, the design of kerb and sidewalk may vary from area to area and over time as it does now in terms of how much space is allocated to each use. Spatial use can often vary: a loading bay in the morning, a food truck at lunch. When such planning decisions are made, the space is set accordingly and its use is signalled using the standard so that a logistics operator knows when that space is available and reserve it appropriately.

“Spatial use can often vary: a loading bay in the morning, a food truck at lunch.”

Reaction to Grush’s ISO standard has been surprisingly mixed, with one response likening the process of standardizing kerb management to “herding cats”, but what has been the result of the outreach to existing solutions providers who are already tackling the kerb management market?

“Some say ‘Yes but we’re already doing that” but when they look closer, they see TS4448 goes far beyond current thinking. In any case, this standards work is not about competition but about standardization and collaboration within a complex, shared space. If each existing provider continues in a more-or-less proprietary manner relative to data and protocols, we will not achieve what automated mobility technology promises,” he warns.

“Some existing players make the assumption that they can later simply write a connector to a standard. That is only true if there are necessary and sufficient correspondences. If there are entire case matters that differ from their approach(es) - and there clearly will be - then their products will have to be retrofitted for procurement and that may be expensive and possibly create a significant disadvantage.”

Future of automated vehicles and humans

As for the implementation of the various elements of an automated future, which one does Grush have his theoretical money on? “All of these are likely,” he insists, “and some are already operating in controlled environments. However, it is extremely unlikely that these robotic machines and devices will always operate in isolated spaces separated from manually operated vehicles, pedestrians with varying abilities, cyclists or wheelchairs, hence the standard must be appropriate to environments ranging from near completely non-automated, to near-completely automated machines.

“The standard must be appropriate to environments ranging from near completely non-automated, to near-completely automated machines.”

“Therefore, while the standard anticipates a world of predominantly automated vehicles, it must always allow for interoperation with non-automated vehicles and humans. Our standards development team asserts that a city with a significant population of robots operating on its sidewalks and kerbs must ensure a high degree of conformance to its existing world of vehicles and pedestrians to avoid a further displacement of pedestrians and cyclists as happened with the introduction of the automobile over a century ago.”

Whether the advent of autonomous vehicles and digitized, coded pavements is a case of going back to the future or hurtling forwards to the past, now looks like an extremely apt time to start choosing sides.

The kerbside playbook

Neil Herron is hedging his bets as to where the smart money is going to go in the battle for kerb space, with a number of potential investors from the fossil fuel industry now looking into smart activity at the kerb.

“BP bought Chargemaster, for example – that's a play for the kerbside if ever there was one. There is an intellectual and innovation land-grab being prepared and the smart investor is not looking at the traditional ‘we need to see revenues’ element here, they are looking for the vision and the thinking that will make them the dominant player in what is a new and emerging market.”

“The commercial users operating fleets in multiple cities will want a generic gateway into the solution suite and not have to change their software integration to accommodate different solutions in different cities.”

“The kerb space user stack and hierarchy needs to be interchangeable and interoperable and be able to be tailored to local needs and priorities, sometimes at a hyperlocal level. However, the commercial users operating fleets in multiple cities will want a generic gateway into the solution suite and not have to change their software integration to accommodate different solutions in different cities, hence the positioning of the smart investors behind the potential of a ubiquitous platform addressing the ‘stack’ of use cases and a strategy of partnerships and joint ventures with city and regional authorities.

In terms of precedent, there are three well-known and incredibly successful examples.

“This is investing in Apple before the smartphone, or spotting the AirBnB model of being the platform that owned no property, or the Uber that owned no taxis. This is the platform that owned no kerb space.” So who will step forward and become the Apple, the AirBnb or Uber of the pavement? All will become clear in the coming months, but, says Iskandar Tange: “I think we can safely say that the battle for kerb space has begun - the first warriors are appearing on the other side of the field.”

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