Autonomous Vehicles in Ride-Hailing and the Threat of Spatial Inequalities
81 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2023
Date Written: January 20, 2023
This paper studies how the potential introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in a fleet of human drivers (HVs) may impact the quality of service and the equality of access to transportation on ride-hailing platforms. We formulate a game-theoretical queueing model in which a platform aims to maximize its profit while HVs make strategic joining decisions. Our results demonstrate that the introduction of AVs may deteriorate the service level. As the platform incorporates AVs, it may prioritize them, which affects the earnings of HVs and drives them out of the market. We then reveal that the reduction of service level is not homogeneous across areas in a city: while the more profitable high-demand areas, such as downtown areas, may see a high concentration of vehicles and reasonable service levels, remote locations may suffer from a drop in service level. Then, using New York City data, we build a simulation that more closely resembles the operations of a ride-hailing platform. We confirm that our theoretical results from the queueing model still hold, and demonstrate additional effects on service levels that also lead to spatial inequality.
Keywords: Ride-hailing, Autonomous Vehicles, Prioritization, Service Level
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