Flexible Routing for Ridesharing

Traffic congestion is a significant problem in major metropolitan areas in the United States. According to the Urban Mobility Report, in 2019 commuters on average lost about 54 hours in traffic congestion. To combat this, major infrastructure projects have been undertaken. However, expansion projects cannot keep up with the increase in usage of personal vehicles and thus fail to address the traffic congestion problem. Carpool ridesharing has shown some promise in combatting this traffic congestion problem. In this system, the drivers are regular commuters who take detours to pick up and drop off passengers to decrease their transportation costs. This system increases the efficiency of the transportation system by providing flexible commutes to people, thus reducing the need for each commuter to use their own personal vehicle. The researchers developed three approaches to rideshare routing. The researchers conducted a computational study using a San Francisco taxicab dataset to determine the effectiveness of the three approaches. To show the impact of flexible meeting points, the researchers also conducted experimental simulations with and without walking and performed sensitivity analyses.