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Dynamic vehicle redistribution and online price incentives in shared mobility systems

: Pfrommer, J.; Warrington, J.; Schildbach, G.; Morari, M.


IEEE transactions on intelligent transportation systems 15 (2014), No.4, pp.1567-1578
ISSN: 1524-9050
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IOSB ()
bicycle sharing; dynamic pricing; dynamic vehicle routing; Model Predictive Control (MPC); shared mobility systems; ZsIF

This paper considers the efficient operation of shared mobility systems via the combination of intelligent routing decisions for staff-based vehicle redistribution and real-time price incentives for customers. The approach is applied to London's Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, which the authors have simulated based on historical data. Using model-based predictive control principles, dynamically varying rewards are computed and offered to customers carrying out journeys, based on the current and predicted state of the system. The aim is to encourage them to park bicycles at nearby underused stations, thereby reducing the expected cost of redistributing them using dedicated staff. In parallel, routing directions for redistribution staff are periodically recomputed using a model-based heuristic. It is shown that it is possible to trade off reward payouts to customers against the cost of hiring staff to redistribute bicycles, in order to minimize operating costs for a given desired service level.