The Price of Anarchy on the roads and how to reduce it

in Research
January 10th, 2018

traffic-jamWe are publishing a new paper in the Proceedings of the IEEE which used minute-by-minute traffic data from the Boston area to estimate the effect on traffic congestion of drivers’ selfish route selection as opposed to a more coordinated, socially optimal routing scheme. We found that during certain very congested periods, socially optimal routing can lead to as much as 50% reduction in congestion. This work is in collaboration with my colleague Christos Cassandras and two of our students, Jing Zhang and Sepideh Pourazarm. It was completed while I was on sabbatical at MIT.

A press release was released by MIT Sloan and KPCC, the southern California NPR station, aired a segment and posted a story on this work.

A related story appeared on the web site of the Center for Information and Systems Engineering.

We are grateful to the Boston region Metropolitan Planning Organization and to the City of Boston for providing access to the traffic data that made this work possible.