Incentive Systems for New Mobility Services to Reduce Congestion

With rapid population growth and urban development, traffic congestion has become an inescapable issue. Future mobility services may offer a new and very effective opportunity to incentivize congestion-reducing behavior. Ridesourcing, food delivery, and package delivery companies make decisions that directly or indirectly affect routing for an increasing number of drivers. These organizations have more flexibility and more power to affect traffic, and targeting them with incentives may be more efficient than incentivizing individual drivers.

Motivated by this idea, researchers at the University of Southern California developed a distributed algorithm for offering incentives to organizations to make socially optimal routing decisions. The algorithm is designed to lower the traffic flow of congested roads without creating new congestion in other parts of the road network. This policy brief summarizes the findings from that research and provides research implications.