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A loading zone marked with yellow lines and text in caps reading "LOADING ZONE".
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City announces Smart Loading Zones project to improve commercial loading zones

The commercial zone pilot program will be managed through a digital app to improve commercial loading in Philadelphia’s 1st District.

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The city of Philadelphia has announced in a press release that they will implement the new Smart Loading Zones project on Oct. 27, lasting until April 2023.

The project will designate 21 loading zones in District 1 as “Smart Loading Zones'' or “Smart Zones” that will use digital management of their commercial loading.

“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 in a statement. 

“Additionally, they can help reduce unsafe and illegal parking in Philadelphia. This six-month pilot will help the City explore cutting edge technologies 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,” he continued.

Access to these Smart Zones is done through the Pebble Driver App, found on the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store. Drivers can find, reserve, pay for, and navigate to these Smart Zones through the app.

PPA Deputy Executive Director Corrine O’Connor said, “the PPA has been a leader in parking management and utilizing the latest in cutting-edge technology to enhance use of the curb and space for more efficient on-street and residential parking. The PPA is happy to partner with the City in this pilot program to explore ways to improve efficiency and better use of our loading zones.”

The project is being overseen by the SmartCityPHL team, the Department of Streets, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, and the Philadelphia Police Department.

“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,” said Mike Carroll, Deputy Managing Director for Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS).

Earlier this year, the city issued a request for proposals for tech solutions that can offer efficient and safe curb management for commercial deliveries, with Pebble at Sidewalk Labs — a part of Google — being awarded the contract for the six-month pilot.

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