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Quantifying the Benefits of Vehicle Pooling with Shareability Networks

Taxi services are a vital part of urban transportation, and a considerable contributor to traffic congestion and air pollution causing substantial adverse effects on human health. Sharing taxi trips is a possible way of reducing the negative impact of taxi services on cities, but this comes at the expense of passenger discomfort quantifiable in terms of a longer travel time. Due to computational challenges, taxi sharing has traditionally been approached on small scales, such as within airport perimeters, or with dynamical ad-hoc heuristics. However, a mathematical framework for the systematic understanding of the tradeoff between collective benefits of sharing and individual passenger discomfort is lacking. Here we introduce the notion of shareability network which allows us to model the collective benefits of sharing as a function of passenger inconvenience, and to efficiently compute optimal sharing strategies on massive datasets. We apply this framework to a dataset of millions of taxi trips taken in New York City, showing that the cumulative trip length can be cut by 40\%, leading to similar reductions in service cost, traffic, and emissions. This benefit comes with split fares and minimal passenger discomfort, hinting towards a wide passenger acceptance of such a shared service. Simulation of a realistic online dispatch system demonstrates the feasibility of a shareable taxi service in New York City. Shareability as a function of trip density saturates fast, suggesting effectiveness of the taxi sharing system also in cities with much sparser taxi fleets or when willingness to share is low.


Proceedings National Academy of Science, 2014

External authors: Michael Szell (MIT), Stanislav Sobolevsky (MIT), Steven Strogatz (Cornell University), Carlo Ratti (MIT)
IIT authors:

Type: Article in ISI Journal
Field of reference: Computer Science & Engineering
Da pagina 13290 a pagina 13294

Activity: Algoritmica per reti wireless