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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. Recommender systems are widely used to help customers find the most relevant and personalized products or services tailored to their preferences. However, traditional systems ignore the preferences of the other side of the market, e.g., “product suppliers” or “service providers”, towards their customers. In this paper, we present 2SRS a Two-Sided Recommender System that recommends coupons, supplied by local businesses, to passerby while considering the preferences of both sides towards each other. For example, some passerby may only be interested in coffee shops whereas certain businesses may only be interested in sending coupons to new customers only. Our experimental resultsmore »show that 2SRS delivers higher satisfaction when considering both sides of the market compared to the baseline methods.« less
  3. Public transit is one of the first things that come to mind when someone talks about “smart cities.” As a result, many technologies, applications, and infrastructure have already been deployed to bring the promise of the smart city to public transportation. Most of these have focused on answering the question, “When will my bus arrive?”; little has been done to answer the question, “How full will my next bus be?” which also dramatically affects commuters’ quality of life. In this article, we consider the bus fullness problem. In particular, we propose two different formulations of the problem, develop multiple predictivemore »models, and evaluate their accuracy using data from the Pittsburgh region. Our predictive models consistently outperform the baselines (by up to 8 times).« less
  4. 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
  5. In the absence of pharmaceutical interventions to curb the spread of COVID-19, countries relied on a number of nonpharmaceutical interventions to fight the first wave of the pandemic. The most prevalent one has been stay-at-home orders, whose the goal is to limit the physical contact between people, which consequently will reduce the number of secondary infections generated. In this work, we use a detailed set of mobility data to evaluate the impact that these interventions had on alleviating the spread of the virus in the US as measured through the COVID-19-related deaths. To establish this impact, we use the notionmore »of Granger causality between two time-series. We show that there is a unidirectional Granger causality, from the median percentage of time spent daily at home to the daily number of COVID-19-related deaths with a lag of 2 weeks. We further analyze the mobility patterns at the census block level to identify which parts of the population might encounter difficulties in adhering and complying with social distancing measures. This information is important, since it can consequently drive interventions that aim at helping these parts of the population.« less
  6. Bike sharing systems have been in place for several years in many urban areas as alternative and sustainable means of transportation. Bicycle usage heavily depends on the available infrastructure (e.g., protected bike lanes), but other—mutable or immutable—environmental characteristics of a city can influence the adoption of the system from its dwellers. Hence, it is important to understand how these factors influence people’s decisions of whether to use a bike system or not. In this this paper, we first investigate how altitude variation influences the usage of the bike sharing system in Pittsburgh. Using trip data from the system, and controllingmore »fora number of other potential confounding factors, we formulate the problem as a classification problem, develop a framework to enable prediction using Poisson regression, and find that there is a negative correlation between the altitude difference and the number of trips between two stations (fewer trips between stations with larger altitude difference). We further, discuss how the results of our analysis can be used to inform decision making during the design and operation of bike sharing systems.« less
  7. The pervasiveness of public displays is prompting an increased need for “fresh” content to be shown, that is highly engaging and useful to passerbys. As such, live or time-sensitive content is often shown in conjunction with “traditional” static content, which creates scheduling challenges. In this work, we propose a utility-based framework that can be used to represent the usefulness of a content item over time. We develop a novel scheduling algorithm for handling live and non-live content on public displays using our utility-based framework. We experimentally evaluate our proposed algorithm against a number of alternatives under a variety of workloads;more »the results show that our algorithm performs well on the proposed metrics. Additional experimental evaluation shows that our utility-based framework can handle changes in priorities and deadlines of content items, without requiring any involvement by the display owner beyond the initial setup.« less