Carnegie Mellon University


September 06, 2019

Bike-sharing Research Wins Award from European Operational Research Publication

The work, which can help bike-share riders from encountering full stations, was chosen based on quality, relevance and originality.

Research on an optimization model for bike-sharing systems led by Willem-Jan van Hoeve, Carnegie Bosch Professor of Operations Research, won best paper at a European conference in June.

The annual award, given by the Association of European Operational Research Societies, was one of three presented at the association’s annual meeting, this year held in Dublin.

“I’m honored to have my work recognized, especially since the award was selected by my peers,” van Hoeve said. “The award helps bring more attention to this optimization model, which improves the convenience and technology of bike-sharing systems so they can be used more widely and more effectively.”

Distinguishing the best work published in the European Journal of Operational Research, the award is chosen by a panel of five judges, which includes the journal’s editor. Winners are chosen based on the paper's scientific quality, originality and relevance to the field of operational research. 

The paper, titled “Inventory rebalancing and vehicle routing in bike sharing systems,” was coauthored by Robert Hampshire, previously an assistant professor of operations research at Carnegie Mellon’s H. John Heinz III College and current research assistant professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and a visiting student, Jasper Schuijbroek. 

In it, the researchers studied how to balance bikes and open docks, improving on previous models. Without the right amount of open parking spots, riders may need to add more time to their bike-share and find another station, causing frustration.

The team created a database to determine usage patterns, then clustered groups of stations together to reallocate bikes so enough were available for riders at optimal times. The model estimates the minimum and maximum number of bikes and parking spaces needed at each station to meet 95 percent of demand for a given time frame.