Drivers, Riders and Service Providers: The Impact of the Sharing Economy on Mobility
51 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 11, 2017
It is widely believed that ride sharing, the practice of sharing a car such that more than one person travels in the car during a journey, has the potential to significantly reduce congestion by filling up cars more efficiently. We introduce a model in which individuals may share rides for a certain fee, paid by the rider(s) to the driver through a ride sharing platform. Collective decision making is modeled as an anonymous non-atomic game with a finite set of strategies and payoff functions affine in the individuals' types. Types are defined as the pair of an individual's utility for using private transportation and the individual's rate of income. Among others, we examine how ride sharing is organized and how congestion and ownership are affected if a platform, which chooses the seat rental price to maximize either revenue or welfare, is introduced to a population. We find that the ratio of ownership to usage costs is the crucial determinant that decides how ride sharing is organized. If this ratio is low, ride sharing is offered as a peer-to-peer (P2P) service, and if this ratio is high, ride sharing is offered as a business-to-customer (B2C) service. In the P2P case, rides are initiated by drivers only when the drivers need to fulfill their own transportation requirements. In the B2C case, cars are driven all the time by full time drivers taking rides even if these are not motivated by their private needs. Our analysis specifies how car ownership and congestion are effected by platform prices, cost parameters, and the distribution of the individuals' types. In particular we discover that traffic and ownership may increase as the ownership cost increases, and that a revenue maximizing platform might prefer a situation where cars are driven with only a few seats occupied, creating high congestion.
Keywords: ride sharing, sharing economy, transportation, equilibrium analysis, large games
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