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Transportation Math

Taxis By Algorithm: Streamlining City Transport With Graph Theory 72

Posted by timothy
from the upsetting-the-big-apple-cartel dept.
New submitter Mark Buchanan (3595113) writes with a story about research from scientists at MIT, Cornell and elsewhere showing "that big city taxi systems could be made 40% more efficient with device-enabled taxi sharing. We could cut miles driven, costs, and pollution with the right application of just data and algorithms, and do it while introducing no more than a 5 minute delay to any person's trip. " Letting such algorithms compete seems an excellent reason to encourage, rather than reject by law, ride-coordination services like Uber and Lyft.
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Taxis By Algorithm: Streamlining City Transport With Graph Theory

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  • Actually (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:07AM (#46592877)

    I don't want to share my cab.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:10AM (#46592915) Journal

    Letting such agorithms compete seems an excellent reason to encourage, rather than reject by law, ride-coordination services like Uber and Lyft.

    Taxi licensing laws aren't about giving the CUSTOMERS good service. They're about limiting competition so the licensed cab owners have a regulated oligopoly that limits competition and keeps the prices higher than market-clearing.

    It's much like the laws limiting car sales to dealers that are giving Tesla such a problem.

    This is crony capitalism at its most blatant.

  • Re:Actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:20AM (#46592989)

    I don't want to share my cab.

    ...and it's unlikely you'll want to wait an *extra* 5-10 minutes to get where you're going either - especially if you're a Manhattanite. Further, if you live in Manhattan and are concerned about the cost of riding in a taxi, there's this thing they have there...what's it called...oh yeah, the subway.

  • There is a case (Score:2, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot AT keirstead DOT org> on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:42AM (#46593177) Homepage

    There is a case to be made for taxi regulation. It protects passengers, which is really the main reason taxi regulation exists. In order to fund that regulation, they allow companies artificial monopolies.

    The last thing you want is a totally unregulated taxi industry. There is a reason these kinds of things became regulated in the first place.

  • by clinko (232501) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:50AM (#46593261) Homepage Journal

    There was a pilot for this program 4 years ago in NYC:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02... [nytimes.com]

    Also there was strike that mandated it 7 years ago for a few days.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09... [nytimes.com]

    In short, no one liked it. If people wanted to have a delayed trip and people with them, they'd just take the Subway.

  • Re:Actually (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:27PM (#46593623)

    And what makes you so certain there's not a market for a service halfway between taxis and buses/subway?

  • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:51PM (#46593851)

    This can reduce waiting times in "taxi rush hour" - would you prefer to wait 15 minutes for "your own" taxi, or share one that comes in 5 minute?

    It's a Prisoner's Dilemma situation. If everybody were willing to wait the 5 minutes, that would be better for everybody. But the ideal situation for an individual is if everybody else shares while they themselves do not, thus avoiding even the 5 minute wait. Each person acting in their best interest individually leads to a poor outcome for everybody.

    The bus is the same. If everybody decided (at once) to start riding the bus, it would be faster than everybody driving cars because there would be so little congestion on the streets, and so many bus routes. But since only a few people take the bus, the busses slog thorough the congestion, AND (being busses) have to stop all the time. So the situation persists.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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