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Rule-based price control for bike sharing systems


C. Ruch, J. Warrington, M. Morari

European Control Conference (ECC), Strasbourg, France, pp. 708-713

The recent increase in popularity of shared mo- bility systems, in which users take a bicycle or car from a geographically-dispersed public pool in order to complete part of a journey, is due in part to improved technologies for tracking and billing customer journeys. In many schemes, a customer can start and end a journey at different docking stations and is billed according to a set fee structure. However a given system generally becomes imbalanced due to asymmetry of demand for such “one-way” services across the system and throughout the day, and the resulting cost of employing staff to redistribute the system’s vehicles is significant. This paper describes how dynamic customer prices, varying geographically as a function of the current and expected future state, could be used as control signals to improve service rates. Such signals could be communicated to customers using existing ICT infrastructure. We show, using an agent-based model parameterized with historical data from London’s Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, that simple proportional price control rules can improve service rates without the need to resort to conventional bike redistribution staff. In addition we analyze the performance obtained and discuss system design issues.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@InProceedings { RucWar:2014:IFA_4544,
    author={C. Ruch and J. Warrington and M. Morari},
    title={{Rule-based price control for bike sharing systems}},
    booktitle={European Control Conference (ECC)},
    address={Strasbourg, France},
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