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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Jan 17;114(3):462-467. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1611675114. Epub 2017 Jan 3.

On-demand high-capacity ride-sharing via dynamic trip-vehicle assignment.

Author information

1
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139; J.AlonsoMora@tudelft.nl.
2
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
3
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139.
4
Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Abstract

Ride-sharing services are transforming urban mobility by providing timely and convenient transportation to anybody, anywhere, and anytime. These services present enormous potential for positive societal impacts with respect to pollution, energy consumption, congestion, etc. Current mathematical models, however, do not fully address the potential of ride-sharing. Recently, a large-scale study highlighted some of the benefits of car pooling but was limited to static routes with two riders per vehicle (optimally) or three (with heuristics). We present a more general mathematical model for real-time high-capacity ride-sharing that (i) scales to large numbers of passengers and trips and (ii) dynamically generates optimal routes with respect to online demand and vehicle locations. The algorithm starts from a greedy assignment and improves it through a constrained optimization, quickly returning solutions of good quality and converging to the optimal assignment over time. We quantify experimentally the tradeoff between fleet size, capacity, waiting time, travel delay, and operational costs for low- to medium-capacity vehicles, such as taxis and van shuttles. The algorithm is validated with ∼3 million rides extracted from the New York City taxicab public dataset. Our experimental study considers ride-sharing with rider capacity of up to 10 simultaneous passengers per vehicle. The algorithm applies to fleets of autonomous vehicles and also incorporates rebalancing of idling vehicles to areas of high demand. This framework is general and can be used for many real-time multivehicle, multitask assignment problems.

KEYWORDS:

human mobility; intelligent transportation systems; ride-sharing; smart cities; vehicle routing

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