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  1. Chiabaut, Nicolas (Ed.)
    One of the most crucial elements for the long-term success of shared transportation systems (bikes, cars etc.) is their ubiquitous availability. To achieve this, and avoid having stations with no available vehicle, service operators rely on rebalancing . While different operators have different approaches to this functionality, overall it requires a demand-supply analysis of the various stations. While trip data can be used for this task, the existing methods in the literature only capture the observed demand and supply rates. However, the excess demand rates (e.g., how many customers attempted to rent a bike from an empty station) are notmore »recorded in these data, but they are important for the in-depth understanding of the systems’ demand patterns that ultimately can inform operations like rebalancing. In this work we propose a method to estimate the excess demand and supply rates from trip and station availability data. Key to our approach is identifying what we term as excess demand pulse (EDP) in availability data as a signal for the existence of excess demand. We then proceed to build a Skellam regression model that is able to predict the difference between the total demand and supply at a given station during a specific time period. Our experiments with real data further validate the accuracy of our proposed method.« less
  2. In this paper, we describe the implementation of an information sharing platform, got-toilet-paper.com. We create this web page in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help the Pittsburgh, PA community share information about congestion and product shortages in supermarkets. We show that the public good problem of the platform makes it difficult for the platform to operate. In particular, there is sizable demand for the information, but supply satis es only a small fraction of demand. We provide a theoretical model and show that the first best outcomes cannot be obtained in a free market and the best symmetric equilibrium outcomemore »decreases as the number of participant increases. Also, the best symmetric equilibrium has two problems, cost inefficiency and positive probability of termination. We discuss two potential solutions. The first is a uniform random sharing mechanism, which implies randomly selecting one person every period who will be responsible for information sharing. It is ex-post individually rational but hard to implement. The second solution is the one that we began implementing. It implies selecting a person at the beginning and make her responsible to share information every period, while reimbursing her cost. We discuss the reasons for high demand and low supply both qualitatively and quantitatively.« less
  3. During recent years there have been several efforts from city and transportation planners, as well as, port authorities, to design multimodal transport systems, covering the needs of the population to be served. However, before designing such a system, the first step is to understand the current gaps. Does the current system meet the transit demand of the geographic area covered? If not, where are the gaps between supply and demand? To answer this question, the notion of transit desert has been introduced. A transit desert is an area where the supply of transit service does not meet the demand formore »it. While there is little ambiguity on what constitutes transit demand, things are more vague when it comes to transit supply. Existing efforts often define transit supply using volume metrics (e.g., number of bus stops within a pre-defined distance). However, this does not necessarily capture the quality of the transit service. In this study, we introduce a network-based transit desert index (which we call TDI) that captures not only the quantity of transit supply in an area, but also the connectivity that the transit system provides for an area within the region of interest. In particular, we define a network between areas based on the transit travel time, distance, and overall quantity of connections. We use these measures to examine two notions of transit quality: connectivity and availability. To quantify the connectivity of an area i we utilize the change observed in the second smallest eigenvalue of the Laplacian when we remove node i from the network. To quantify availability of an area i, we examine the number of routes which pass through this area as given by an underlying transit network. We further apply and showcase our approach with data from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA. Finally, we discuss current limitations of TDI and how we can tackle them as part of our future research.« less
  4. The complex relationships in an urban environment can be captured through multiple interrelated sources of data. These relationships form multilayer networks, that are also spatially embedded in an area, could be used to identify latent patterns. In this work, we propose a low-dimensional representation learning approach that considers multiple layers of a multiplex network simultaneously and is able to encode similarities between nodes across different layers. In particular, we introduce a novel neural network architecture to jointly learn low-dimensional representations of each network node from multiple layers of a network. This process simultaneously fuses knowledge of various data sources tomore »better capture the characteristics of the nodes. To showcase the proposed method we focus on the problem of identifying the functionality of an urban region. Using a variety of public data sources for New York City, we design a multilayer network and evaluate our approach. Our results indicate that our proposed approach can improve the accuracy of traditional approaches in an unsupervised task.« less
  5. Recent studies in urban navigation have revealed new demands (e.g., diversity, safety, happiness, serendipity) for the navigation services that are critical to providing useful recommendations to travelers. This exposes the need to design next-generation navigation services that accommodate these newly emerging aspects. In this paper, we present a prototype system, namely, EPUI (an Experimental Platform of Urban Informatics), which provides a testbed for exploring and evaluating venues and route recommendation solutions that balance between different objectives (i.e., demands) including the newly discovered ones. In addition, EPUI incorporates a modularized design, enabling researchers to upload their own algorithms and compare themmore »to well-known algorithms using different performance metrics. Its user interface makes it easily usable by both end-user and experienced researchers.« less