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Evaluation of Ride-Sourcing Search Frictions and Driver Productivity: A Spatial Denoising Approach

by   Natalia Zuniga-Garcia, et al.
The University of Texas at Austin

This paper considers the problem of spatial and temporal mispricing of ride-sourcing trips from a driver perspective. Using empirical data from more than 1.1 million rides in Austin, Texas, we explore the spatial structure of ride-sourcing search frictions and driver performance variables as a function of the trip destination. The spatial information is subject to noise and sparsity, and researchers tend to aggregate the data in large areas, which results in the loss of high-resolution insights. We implemented the graph-fused lasso (GFL), a spatial smoothing or denoising methodology that allows for high-definition spatial evaluation. GFL removes noise in discrete areas by emphasizing edges, which is practical for evaluating zones with heterogeneous types of trips, such as airports, without blurring the information to surrounding areas. Principal findings suggest that there are differences in driver productivity depending on trip type and pickup and drop-off location. Therefore, providing spatio-temporal pricing strategies could be one way to balance driver equity across the network.


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