I’m in London at the moment, visiting Gareth Peters at UCL to think about alpha-stable random variables and their applications. Tomorrow, I’m also presenting in the Agents and Intelligent Systems Seminar at Kings College London (see the link for location and time). The details are:
Title: From Taxis to Uber: Market Design for On-Demand Transport Services
Abstract: Uber is one of several recent companies adopting a business model that lies in stark contrast with the standard approach used by taxi services–evidenced by the highly publicized legal difficulties. Underlying Uber’s business model is a new architecture, which governs how commuters, drivers, and the company interact with each other. In order to understand key properties of this new architecture, we introduce an agent-based model and propose a market mechanism that routes, schedules, and prices commuters, while also selecting and paying drivers. We analyze the mechanism and demonstrate the effect of varying passenger types and side information available to the company affects the profitability of the service. We then compare the performance of our approach with a mechanism based on the standard taxi architecture via simulations using realistic demand and location data from Prague, Czech Republic.