Simulation, Optimization and Artificial Intelligence for on-demand ride services



               Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management

                       The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Date: Friday Oct 28, 2022, 16:30 HK time

Venue: ERB 513, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Title: Simulation, Optimization and Artificial Intelligence for on-demand ride services

Speaker: Prof. Jintao Ke, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong


On-demand ride services or ride-sourcing services, offered by transportation network companies like Uber, Lyft and Didi, have been experiencing fast development and steadily reshaping the way people travel in the past decade. Various mathematical models and optimization algorithms, including reinforcement learning approaches, have been developed in the literature to help ride-sourcing platforms design better operational strategies to achieve higher operational efficiency. However, due to cost and reliability issues (implementing an immature algorithm for real operations may result in system turbulence), it is commonly infeasible to validate these models and train/test these optimization algorithms within real-world ride sourcing platforms. Acting as a useful test bed, a simulation platform for ride-sourcing systems will thus be very important for both researchers and industrial practitioners to conduct algorithm training/testing or model validation through trails and errors. While previous studies have established a variety of simulators for their own tasks, it lacks a fair and public platform for comparing the models/algorithms proposed by different researchers. In addition, the existing simulators still face many challenges, ranging from their closeness to real environments of ride-sourcing systems, to the completeness of different tasks they can implement. To address the challenges, we propose a novel multi-functional and open-sourced simulation platform for ride-sourcing systems, which can simulate the behaviors and movements of various agents (including drivers and passengers) on a real transportation network. It provides a few accessible portals for users to train and test various optimization algorithms, especially reinforcement learning algorithms, for a variety of tasks, including on-demand matching, idle vehicle repositioning, and dynamic pricing. In addition, it can be used to test how well the theoretical models, developed in the literature for equilibrium analysis and strategic planning, approximate the simulated outcomes. Evaluated by experiments based on real-world datasets, the simulator is demonstrated to be an efficient and effective test bed for various tasks related to on-demand ride service operations.


Dr. Jintao Ke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Dr. Ke received his B.S. degree (2016) in civil engineering from Zhejiang University, and his PhD degree (2020) in Civil and Environment Engineering from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Prior to joining HKU, he was a research assistant professor in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests include shared mobility on demand, transportation big data analytics, multimodal intelligent transportation systems, transportation pricing, short-term travel demand forecasting, etc. The vision of his research is to develop novel models, algorithms, and conduct data-driven quantitative analyses to better manage, operate, and regulate shared mobility and other emerging mobility services. He has published around 30 SCI/SSCI indexed research papers in top-tier journals in the field of transportation research and data mining, such as Transportation Research Part A-E, IEEE Transactions on Intelligence Transportation System, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering. He was awarded the Honorable Mention of HKSTS Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2020. He serves as an Advisory Board Member of Transportation Research Part C, guest editors of two Special Issues of Transportation Research Part C and Travel Behavior and Society, and referees for a few top transportation journals.

Everyone is welcome to attend the talk!

SEEM-5201 Website:


Friday, October 28, 2022 - 16:30 to 17:30