Route Planning for Enhanced Transportation Network Utilization: A System Optimization Approach for Route Planning in Advanced Traveler Information Systems

Friday, February 21, 2020 - 19:15

The existing online mapping systems process many user route queries simultaneously, yet solve each independently, using typical route guidance solutions. These route recommendations are presented as optimal, but often this is not truly the case, due to the effects of competition users experience over the resulting experienced routes, a phenomenon referred to in Game Theory as a Nash Equilibrium. Additionally, route plans of this nature can result in poor utilization of the road network from a system-optimizing perspective as well. In this project, we introduce an enhanced approach for route guidance, motivated by the relevance of a system optimal equilibrium strategy, while also maintaining fairness to the individual. With this approach, the objective is to optimize global road network utilization (as measured by mobility, global emissions etc.) by selecting from a set of generally fair user route alternatives in a batch setting.

For the first time, an approximate, anytime algorithm based on Monte Carlo Tree Search and Eppstein’s Top-K Shortest Paths algorithm is presented to solve this complex dual optimization problem in real-time. This approach attempts to identify and avoid the potentially harmful network effects of sub-optimal route combinations. Experiments show that mobility optimization over the real road networks of Rye and Golden, Colorado in a microscopic traffic simulation with a network congestion-minimizing objective can lead to considerable improvement in mobility for users, as observed by a shorter travel time, with an improvement up to 12% with some consideration of route fairness.  The full report is available on line at


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