Delivery and Curb Chaos 1

Populism to tackle millions of curbside parking woes with new funding – Technology Flow

Delivery and Curb Chaos 1

Populous, a San Francisco-based transportation data startup, started when shared scooter mania took hold and cities tried to understand how infrastructure was being used by fleets of small vehicles.

Now, populous Co-founder and CEO Regina Clevlow positioned the company, which collects data on transit fleets and shares it with cities, to take advantage of another hot opportunity: congestion and congestion.

Populous has continued to ride the micromobility wave and expanded into other areas such as commercial aircraft, ride-hail vehicles and other new forms of mobility such as autonomous vehicles. Its software-as-a-service product, which is now used in more than 100 cities in the US and Israel, Collects data on shared fleets such as scooters, e-bikes and car-sharing. That data is shared with cities to help planners and regulators understand and manage how streets are used. Cities can also use the Populus API to share information on motor vehicle restrictions, preferred scooter parking areas and bike lanes with mapping platforms and other third parties.

Clewlow argues that the next big, and present-day, growth opportunity lies with Populus’ curb management feature, which provides cities with data on how curbs are being used so they can set dynamic pricing and reduce congestion. That opportunity is fueled by increasing demand for same-day and next-day delivery.

The company will use the latest injection of $11 million in venture capital raised in a Series A round to scale its existing product as well as its control software. The money will also be used for key strategic hires, Cluelow said, adding that Populus hopes to double its current headcount of 25 people over the next year.

The round was co-led by Zero Infinity Partners and Climactic in partnership with Comcast Ventures and Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition Ventures.

Populus’ curb management software “allows cities to better manage everything moving from commercial delivery operations to the future of autonomous vehicles,” Clough told Technology Flow. “Cities can receive data from fleet operators through our platform so they know where the most demand is, and then they can design new parking policies and implement them through our platform as well.”

The data is particularly relevant for cities trying to reduce emissions and improve air quality. While many delivery companies are trialling fleets of e-cargo bikes or autonomous sidewalk robots, most deliveries today are still completed by gas-powered trucks and vans, which are the main source of tailpipe emissions in urban areas.

Populus says its trail management software keeps aircraft operators in areas that reduce conflict. At the same time, smart policies supported by populous regulatory data can encourage delivery operators to use shorter, more carbon efficient modes of transport.

In the future, Populous wants to focus on congestion pricing, which cities like New York are implementing to discourage driving in city centers.

“There’s no reason why our platform can’t be used to manage more connected vehicles, entering and leaving a zone and pricing them for the use of those zones,” Klulow said.

While Populus is mostly focused in North America, the startup has reached as far as Tel Aviv and is pursuing several pilots in major European cities with an eye toward expansion.

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