Value of Demand Information in Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand Systems

TitleValue of Demand Information in Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand Systems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsJian Wen, Nassir N, Jinhua Zhao
JournalTransportation Research Part A
Keywordsagent-based simulation, Autonomous Vehicles, fleet management, mobility-on-demand systems, value of information

Effective management of demand information is a critical factor in the successful operation of autonomous mobility-on-demand (AMoD) systems. This paper classifies, measures and evaluates the demand information for an AMoD system. First, the paper studies demand information at both individual and aggregate levels and measures two critical attributes: dynamism and granularity. We identify the trade-offs between both attributes during the data collection and information inference processes and discuss the compatibility of the AMoD dispatching algorithms with different types of information. Second, the paper assesses the value of demand information through agent-based simulation experiments with the actual road network and travel demand in a major European city, where we assume a single operator monopolizes the AMoD service in the case study area but competes with other transportation modes. The performance of the AMoD system is evaluated from the perspectives of travelers, AMoD operators, and transportation authority in terms of the overall system performance. The paper tests multiple scenarios, combining different information levels, information dynamism, and information granularity, as well as various fleet sizes. Results show that aggregate demand information leads to more served requests, shorter wait time and higher profit through effective rebalancing, especially when supply is high and demand information is spatially granular. Individual demand information from in-advance requests also improves the system performance, the degree of which depends on the spatial disparity of requests and their coupled service priority. By designing hailing policies accordingly, the operator is able to maximize the potential benefits. The paper concludes that the strategic trade-offs of demand information need to be made regarding the information level, information dynamism, and information granularity. It also offers a broader discussion on the benefits and costs of demand information for key stakeholders including the users, the operator, and the society.