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Transportation Math

Taxis By Algorithm: Streamlining City Transport With Graph Theory 72

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:21AM (#46593001)

    yes and no.

    Your claim is likely partially true. However, another reason for licensing laws is to reduce the amount of traffic on the road. More taxis on the road can mean more traffic congestion http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/01/20/more-taxis-mean-more-traffic/.

  • "Dolmush" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by should_be_linear ( 779431 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:25AM (#46593029)
    In Turkey, I saw even better thing. Idea is this: public transport bus is too slow and awkward: stops are either sparse - lots of walking, or dense - making traveling too slow, and taxi for single person is too expensive (fuel + driver). In Turkey these is this "Dolmush" thing, which is mini-bus, that stops anywhere (like Taxi), costs fix rate (like public transport) and is just practical. It kicks ass of all other forms of public transport *AND* computerized car/taxi sharing.
  • by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:26PM (#46593605)
    The law is a cab is legally bound to take you anywhere in the five boroughs, whether they want to or not. Of course, if you tell them where you want to go before you get in, there's not much you can do to force the issue, except maybe getting their plate number and report it, which you probably won't do anyway. So savvy NYers don't give up the destination until they're in the cab.

    Long story short, a system that requires you provide both the pickup AND arrival points will require some serious clampdowns to keep uptowners and outer-borough folk from being left out in the cold.

  • by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @01:06PM (#46594013)

    As far as cabbies are concerned, the optimum algorithm will be whatever maximises their revenue. Any algorithm that doesn't will probably be vulnerable to cheating, i.e. a rogue cabbie that can make more money exploiting some aspect of the algorithm will do so.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.