Gonzalo Romero | Management Science | Toronto University |
Dynamic Relocations in Car-Sharing Networks
We propose a novel dynamic car relocation policy for a car-sharing network with centralized control and uncertain, unbalanced demand. The policy is derived from a reformulation of the linear programming fluid model approximation of the dynamic problem. We project the full-dimensional fluid approximation onto the lower-dimensional space of relocation decisions only. This projection results in a characterization of the problem as n+1 linear programs, where n is the number of nodes in the network. The reformulation uncovers structural properties that are interpretable using absorbing Markov chain concepts and allows us to write the gradient with respect to the relocation decisions in closed form. Our policy exploits these gradients to make dynamic car relocation decisions. We provide extensive numerical results where our dynamic car relocation policy consistently outperforms the standard static policy in realistic instances from the literature. In fact, it reduces the static policy’s optimality gap by more than 13% in all of these instances and up to 35% in some.