An Integrated Supply-Demand Approach to Solving Optimal Relocations in Station-Based Carsharing Systems

The dominant challenge in one-way carsharing systems is the vehicle stock imbalance. Previous studies have proposed relocation approaches to handle it using optimization and simulation models. However, these models do not consider the interdependence between supply and demand in carsharing systems. In this study, we develop an integrated optimization model to link supply and demand together. A discrete choice model that includes vehicle availability as a parameter directly affecting user’s mode choice is introduced and incorporated within the optimization formulation.

In this framework, carsharing travel demand is influenced by vehicle supply. The reaction of the demand further changes vehicle availability in the system. The incorporation of a discrete choice model with the Integer Linear Programming formulation leads to a nonlinear model. We propose a linearization scheme to reformulate it. We test the model in realistic case studies representative of an Australian carsharing operator. A sensitivity analysis on total travel demand, system capacity, one-way trip price, and vehicle availability coefficient is undertaken to evaluate their impacts on system profit. The results reveal that the pattern of profit over trip price varies across scenarios with different vehicle availability coefficients and travel demand. The profit-efficiency of enlarging carsharing network is also dependent on travel demand. We conclude that the interdependence between demand and supply should be considered when setting network development plans and pricing strategies in one-way carsharing systems. If there is a strong interaction between demand and supply, the supply of carsharing vehicles has a critical impact on system profit.

System profit over Ro and VoVA when capacity = 198 in medium-demand scenario

Link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11067-018-9401-6 

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