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Smart Loading Zone Pilot

The Walnut Street Garage is closed. Visit the Find Parking Page for alternate parking options. Link here, Find Parking. 

to help the City of Bethlehem manage congestion for the benefit of all

Pilot Overview

  • Bethlehem has been awarded a $100,000 grant by Automotus to create more efficient and safe curbside loading zones. 
  • Automotus technology will analyze real-time curbside activity, automate payment by the minute for the time a vehicle spends at the curb, and share real-time parking availability data with drivers via open APIs for a number of existing loading zones
  • Each vehicle will be invoiced automatically based on its license plate information — no app or meter needed. 
  • The Bethlehem Parking Authority released the first press release in January of 2023 and held a public Town Hall Meeting on January 19th to give the public an opportunity to learn about the program.

Why are we piloting smart loading zones?

Commercial delivery is growing at an unprecedented rate, leading to increased congestion, emissions, and safety hazards in urban areas.

Pre-pandemic estimates showed demand for e-commerce resulting in a 35% increase in commercial vehicles by 2030

  • In 2020 alone, e-commerce grew by 44%
  • Food and drink apps saw 64 million first-time downloads in the first two months of 2021

Smart Loading Zones give cities the opportunity to manage congestion in ways that benefit cities, businesses, residents, and fleets alike.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Align parking and loading policies with real-time data
  • Decrease emissions from unnecessary idling and circling
  • Reduce parking-caused traffic by 20% and double-parking by 60%
  • Increase parking turnover for restaurants and small businesses
  • Improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and other curb users
  • Increase delivery efficiency and reduce dwell time

Where will the Smart Loading Zones be installed?

There will be several Smart Loading Zones installed throughout the city. A map of the locations can be found here,

How long will the pilot last?

Once the Smart Loading Zones are installed, they will remain active for three years, at which point they will be evaluated and determine whether to make the Smart Loading Zones permanent.

I’m a delivery driver, how do I learn more about signing up to use the Smart Loading Zones?

Once the Smart Loading Zones are live, a driver can register their vehicle and payment. This one-time registration will enable automated payment for curb usage by the minute when your vehicle is at the Smart Loading Zone for the entirety of the pilot.  

If you are a fleet operator or larger company, you can email to inquire about registering your fleet in the Smart Loading Zones program. 

How much does the Smart Loading Zone Cost?

You may park for FREE for 5 Minutes!

After 5 minutes the rates are as follows:

  • 6-11min = $0.07, $0.35 max cost
  • 11-21min = $0.14, $1.75 max cost
  • 21-36min = $0.21, $4.90 max cost
  • 36-60min = $0.28, $11.62 max cost

Using computer vision technology, the cameras will record the license plate information which will be used to issue an invoice for the time spent in the zone, with an additional administrative fee.  If the user registers with Automotus, the administrative fee is waived.  Repeated unpaid sessions will initiate enforcement action and a possible citation.

Privacy and Security

Unlike a surveillance system or traditional camera recording system, Automotus’s technology captures only three specific types of data:

  1. De-identified sample image data to train the technology
  2. De-identified traffic and curb activity metadata to inform smarter policies, and
  3. Vehicle license plate information for the sole purpose of automatically processing parking payments

License plate information is the only form of personally identifiable information that Automotus collects and it never captures or shares this information for any purpose other than to facilitate automated payment.

For more information, you can review Automotus’s full policy on its website:

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Do you have questions?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions