D-Vanpool - DFG 2017 (Sino-German Collaboration)

Dynamic vanpool services: Passenger preferences, operations modeling, and simulation- based quantification of impacts

Duration: 2018-2021

Dynamic vanpooling has emerged as another innovative transportation service that is more affordable and sustainable. As a pioneer in this field, Via, a New York based startup company, has been providing real time on-demand ridesharing service with a fleet of dedicated vans and professionally trained drivers since 2013. In dynamic vanpool, passengers request vans from their smartphones for point-to-point pick-ups and drop-offs, and operators dynamically route vans to passengers with committed arrival and travel times. Dynamic vanpool offers more flexibility in mobility compared to transit services with fixed schedules and routes, while is more affordable than driving a car or hailing a taxi. Since its introduction in New York, dynamic vanpool has attracted much attention and has been made available in other cities around the world, including Beijing (Didi Chuxing), Berlin (Door2Door and Allygator Shuttle), Los Angeles (Via and Mercedes-Benz), London (Ford), and Shanghai (Panda Bus).

The rapid development of dynamic vanpool services has sparked increased interest in both academia and industry. In this project, we propose to investigate fundamental problems associated with dynamic vanpooling from the perspectives of passengers, operators, as well as policy makers. Specifically, we want to (i) quantify passengers’ preference toward various service attributes of dynamic vanpooling such as pick-up delay, circuity of the routes, and fare; (ii) build a simulation platform that can allow us to quantitatively evaluate the performance of dynamic vanpooling and its impacts; (iii) develop a high-performance scheduling algorithm, which is a core technology for dynamic vanpooling. It shall be capable of handling stochasticity in both demand and travel time, and can coordinate a fleet of vehicles in megacities like Shanghai; and (iv) assess the social and environmental impacts of dynamic vanpooling and identify ways to integrate it with existing travel modes to serve the mobility needs of the residents. The outcome of the proposed project shall allow us to develop a thorough understanding of the preferences of the passengers, the operational challenges of dynamic vanpooling, and its impact to building greener and more sustainable cities.

PIs: Prof. Constantinos Antoniou (TUM) , Hai Jiang (Tsinghua University)