Game theory and data-driven analysis show that a small financial incentive can greatly increase the amount of shared use

The British journal Nature Communications recently published a physics study in which scientists used game theory and data to conduct an in-depth analysis of the use of shared travel by urban users. Studies have shown that a moderate increase in financial incentives may greatly affect people's use of shared travel services.
Modeling analysis of the research team. Image source: "Nature·Communication" )

Shared travel or "carpooling" has become an important travel mode for users in many cities around the world. Its usual meaning is that people do not need to own the vehicle ownership, share the vehicle with other people in the way of sharing and carpooling, and pay the corresponding usage fee according to their own travel requirements. From a macro perspective, its biggest advantage is that multiple trips can be combined into one, which greatly improves the efficiency of urban operations.

Scientists' previous analysis and modeling of shared travel by urban users have proved the technical efficiency of this system, the feasibility of the algorithm, and the potential positive impact on the development of transportation infrastructure. However, in reality, the level of shared travel in areas with heavy traffic is usually low. For this reason, it is necessary to understand the conditions under which people are willing to use shared travel.

In view of this, scientists David Storch, Mark Timer and others at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany studied the shared travel scenarios in cities with heavy traffic. They combined game theory with a data-driven approach, taking into account the various motivations of users to use shared travel. The analysis of more than 360 million ride-hailing situations in New York City and Chicago in 2019 supports their theoretical research results.

The research team found that there are two mechanisms for shared travel in cities: one is that the usage of shared travel increases as the overall travel demand increases, and the other is that the usage remains the same. They also revealed the scenarios that would cause the two scenes to switch suddenly. The research results show that the current financial incentives for shared travel have approached the boundary of high-level shared travel, and a small increase in financial incentives may significantly increase the use of shared travel.

Source: Science and Technology Daily

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