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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Here's a thought that occurred to a few people while weaving their cars through double-parked Amazon trucks and Ubers: Let's find a way to monetize those scofflaws.

Why it matters: Video cameras mounted on city streets — and connected to the right software and technology — could one day be a gold standard for urban traffic management.

  • The nascent technology — now being marketed by a handful of new companies — could be used to bill vehicles that park in commercial spaces, fine vehicles that double-park, and help cities place commercial parking spaces in the best locations.

Where it stands: Several vendors have popped up in the emerging field of digital curb management.

  • Coord says it "supports over 4.9 million curb spaces in 15 cities across North America."
  • Automotus says its installations have helped reduce traffic caused by parking by 20%.
  • curbFlow says it "identifies vacancy at the curb in real time for drivers needing to pick up & drop off deliveries."
  • Other companies, like Flow Labs and Flux Mobility, are at earlier stages of development.

What they're saying: Jordan Justus, co-founder and CEO of Automotus, walked me through the company's plans.

  • For cities that hire Automotus: "We've developed a system to automatically invoice companies for their time at the curb — whether it's DoorDash or PostMates, Amazon or UPS — so that not only are these folks paying [cities based on their time in a commercial parking spot], but they're paying based on their use."
  • For Uber, Lyft drivers (and others): An app will help find parking for motorists, free-of-charge.
  • For urban revenue coffers: Automotus automates enforcement of double-parking. "Enforcement mechanisms today rely on officers driving or biking around to get back to the same spot every two hours, when you have a vehicle stopping for anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes."

Details: Automotus has done projects in cities like Bellingham, Washington, and campuses like Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

  • But Coord "now supports over 4.9 million curb spaces in 15 cities across North America," including, most recently, Omaha.
  • Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver are also using Coord's platform.

Go deeper

Dec 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Lyft to offer self-driving taxis in several cities in 2023

A self-driving Lyft in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of Motional

Autonomous vehicles will be available on Lyft's ride-sharing network in multiple U.S. cities beginning in 2023, Lyft and self-driving tech company Motional announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It represents a potential milestone in the commercial rollout of self-driving technology, which AV developers say will lead to safer, lower-cost transportation.

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

7 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.