The city of Philadelphia is working with Pebble at Sidewalk Labs, a Google subsidiary, on a pilot program to help delivery drivers find curb space in Center City and aim to help prevent double-parking and other congestion causing traffic maneuvers.  

The program will begin on the 17th October and will see 21 existing curbside loading zones on Chesnut, Walnut and Sansom streets between Broad Street and 6th street be converted into new smart loading zones. This will require drivers to use an app to pay a fee of up to $3. 

The program will run for six months with the aim to increase shipping efficiency, decrease traffic and improve road safety. 

“We’re often among the last to adopt new things and bring them into the city,” Deputy Managing Director Mike Carroll said. “We’re actually what feels to me like very close to the leading edge of what technology can do in terms of managing our curb space with this smart loading zone pilot.” 

Delivery workers, and any other driver interested in parking in the one-hour zones, will be able to plug their destination into the Pebble Driver app. 

Once they get within half-a-mile of their drop-off point, they will be allocated an available loading zone or be able to pick from a selection of free parking spaces. 

Customers are also able to park in an empty spot, scan a QR code or send a text to download the Pebble app. 

Once they are parked, drivers can click “start session,” and they will be billed 75 cents for every 15 minutes. Unlike meters, they will not be charged until they log out of the app and are ready to leave the zone, officials said. 

Drivers with the app are also able to report other cars if they are in reserved spaces and can contact enforcement to see if this spot was reserved. 

The effectiveness of the pilot program will be issued in a report in early 2023.