Game-theoretic investigation of granular modeling of urban travel decisions
The complexity of urban transport system makes it difficult to understand the impact
of both the macroscopic transport policy decisions by the authorities and the microscopic
travel decisions made by the general public. This is because the objectives of the travelling
indivisual are defined in terms of journey time, comfort and punctuality while the strategic
objectives are defined in terms of urban sustainability, environmental impact, etc.
which translate into promotion of socially responsible (altruistic) behaviours.
An attempt to quantify the relationship between the two perspectives using standard
mathematical programming techniques proved to be excessively complex. However, the
novel perspective of granular modelling may provide a framework in which to capture
these complex phenomena. In particular, the formulation of the relationship as a granular
game could provide a generic approach to optimisation of problems defined at various
levels of abstraction (granulation).
The challenge of understanding altruistic (socially responsible) behaviour in the context
of traffic and transportation systems is a specific manifestation of a more general
challenge identified in socio-biology (Wilson, 1975). Gintis (1995) gives the definition
of the altruism as follows: an altruist is an agent who takes actions that improve the
fitness or material well-being of other agents when more self-interested actions are
available. In transportation systems the choice of public transport or cycling/walking
alternative over the use of a private car can be seen as a manifestation of altruism.
Of course, from the individualís perspective the altruistic choice of using a less
comfortable mode of transport is also informed by the knowledge of factors that are
associated with the use of private cars such as fuel cost, driving stress, parking
availability/cost and possible road tolls. Also there is a potential payback of an
altruistic choice that includes cleaner air, less busy and safer roads, enhanced
economic sustainability of cities and social acceptability. It is clear therefore
that what appears as an altruistic choice may indeed involve complex evaluation of
incentives and disincentives that are defined in different domains.
The scientific aim of this research - to understand the ability to optimise decisions
using game-theoretic approach in the context of systems that are described at various
levels of abstraction (granulation) - will be achieved through the following:
- Development of a granulation scheme of the urban transportation context taking into
account the broad spectrum of viewpoints: regulatory, environmental, transport operators
and travelling public.
- Development of game-theoretic models that capture interactions between the abstract
entities in the urban transportation system.
- Analysis of the mathematical conditions for Nash Equilibrium as a function of a
varying proportion of cooperative/uncooperative agents and various incentive schemes.
- Development of fuzzy measurements of the effects of various policy decisions.
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