Recently in taxi Category

One taxi Über alles

I am quoted in this article Smartphone apps are changing the way riders hail taxis by Katie Humphrey

“When you go to most cities, there are many different taxi providers and it’s hit-or-miss how reliable any of them are,” said David Levinson, a professor at the University of Minnesota who studies transportation. “It’s easier to download an app than to look up a telephone number.”




Via BS, Betabeat: You Were Warned: Uber Says E-Hailing Fares Will Skyrocket Amid New Year’s Eve Demand :

"NYE pricing is not for the faint of heart. The average surge multiple will likely be 2x normal prices, but during extreme spikes it could cost you $100 MINIMUM before time and mileage charges! So be careful with those Uber ride requests. Uber rides will be reliable on New Year’s Eve, but they’ll also be pretty pricey."

The more of this and *not* having road prices vary by time of day will seem strange. We should just use the words "surge pricing" rather than "road pricing".

If anyone was wondering why Google is interested in self-driving vehicles ... imagine the future as robot black cabs. The Next Web: London’s black cabs to get free high-speed WiFi hotspots from early 2013

Who will raise my Taxis |

Now @

Who will raise my Taxis?

Linklist: March 27, 2012

Antiplanner: Semi-Driverless Cars Available Soon :

"Continental Automotive, a company that makes tires and other parts, has put together a semi-driverless car for Nevada. Under the rules in that state, which legalized driverless cars last year, a car must successfully go 10,000 miles without an accident before being marketed in the state. Continental’s car, which is based on a Volkswagen Passat, should pass that mark this week."

KurzweilAI: New York to Beijing in two hours without leaving the ground? :

"The Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system (U.S. Patent 5950543, assigned to, Inc.) would take passengers from New York to Beijing in just two hours. Advocates of Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) claim it is silent, cheaper than planes, trains, or cars and faster than jets.

How it would work: put a superconducting maglev train in evacuated tubes, then accelerate using linear electric motors until the design velocity is attained. Passive superconductors allow the capsules to float in the tube, while eddy currents induced in conducting materials drive the capsules. Efficiency of such a system would be high, as the electric energy required to accelerate a capsule could largely be recaptured as it slows."

h/t Brendan Nee: Uber Blog » Uberdata: The Ride of Glory:

"One of the neat things we can do with our data is ask about rider patterns: are there weekend riders that only use Uber post-party? What about the workday commuters who use us every morning? It was while playing around with this idea of (blind!) rider segmentation that we came up with the Ride of Glory (RoG)."

KSTP's angle: Washington Ave. Closure Prompts Increased Taxi Cab Fares

I get my 8 seconds of fame on the video (available at the link above).
Washington Ave. Closure Prompts Increased Taxi Cab Fares The permanent closure of Washington Avenue near the University of Minnesota is prompting higher taxi cab fares. "Red & White Taxi" figures customers needing rides to University hospitals, hotels, or athletic events will likely pay several more dollars per cab ride. Drivers say Washington was the shortest route to campus and will now have to find longer alternatives. Analysts say ultimately if driving in the area becomes too cumbersome it may prompt more people to use light rail and rely less on vehicles.

IEEE Spectrum reports on How to Hail a Passenger



But further data mining produced more nuanced insights: The researchers found that hunting in the early morning, before 7 a.m., resulted in more passenger pickups, while waiting in busy areas could result in more pickups during the height of rush hour, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Important to note, however, is that some of the data the researchers used was hard to parse: An immobile cab at rush hour might be stuck in traffic, rather than deliberately waiting for a customer, especially in the evening hours, the researchers say.) The top 10 performing drivers—those who had the highest number of passenger pickups overall—consistently chose to hunt for passengers or drive back to a busy area after drop-offs. Eight out of 10 of the lowest-performing drivers chose to wait or stay in the location where they dropped off their last passengers. Waiting, then, is associated with fewer pickups on average.

Daqing Zhang, who led the study, says that the novelty of his group’s research lies in "how to guide the taxi drivers to choose the right strategy and optimal route to find the next passengers." Zhang’s future research will focus on the route the driver takes when the cab is empty. If it’s generally true that hunting and driving back to busy locations results in more passenger pickups, then cabbies would do even better by choosing the best paths while on the hunt or while driving back to a busy location. An application that could suggest such optimized routes might, in theory, make individual taxi drivers richer. But if every driver starts hunting on optimized routes, the distribution of cabs might change in ways that aren’t optimal for the overall balance of a city’s taxi system.

Several years ago, joint research conducted by a group from Kyoto University and the University of California, Davis, showed just that. They developed a model to better understand the behavioral tendencies and economics at play in a taxi driver’s decision either to cruise for passengers or wait in a taxi bay. But in the Kyoto-Davis study, the tendencies of the individual were considered in relation to taxi availability citywide. The examples, derived from taxis in the Nagoya metropolitan area of Japan, showed that while cruising might increase an individual driver’s overall performance, it could have an adverse effect on "socially motivated system optimization." Taxi drivers have a propensity for cruising—and for good reason—but too many cruising taxis leads to increased competition and inefficient system performance.


(Via Marginal Revolution.)

UberCab tries to automate taxi/limo business, shut down for lack of permits ... Ubercab, Now Just Uber, Shares Cease And Desist Orders

Taxis remain regulated, which ought not be news.

David Levinson

Network Reliability in Practice

Evolving Transportation Networks

Place and Plexus

The Transportation Experience

Access to Destinations

Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Intelligent Transportation Systems

Financing Transportation Networks

View David Levinson's profile on LinkedIn

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