This Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant will explore the ways in which connectivity and autonomy may shape the next generation of transportation systems. These technological breakthroughs open doors for communication, interaction, and automated negotiation among travelers, vehicles, and the transportation infrastructure, enabling many innovative applications in which value is created from interactions among peers. This project contributes to both theory and practice in several emerging peer-to-peer applications, including: 1) Shared multi-modal transportation systems in which on-demand shared mobility systems can be integrated with traditional transportation modes (such as transit) to provide seamless door-to-door mobility solutions; 2) Platooning, wherein synchronization of vehicle motion allows a group of automated vehicles to travel together at close proximity, thereby increasing fuel efficiency as well as road capacity; and 3) Vehicle-to-vehicle wireless power transfer between electric vehicles, wherein electric vehicles may pair with one another to exchange electric power. The resulting models and algorithms from this grant can revolutionize the way people and goods move in smart cities of the (near) future, and offer more efficient, affordable, sustainable, and equitable mobility options.
In response to challenges that arise in operationalizing peer-to-peer systems, this project offers several major intellectual contributions within the realms of algorithm design (mathematical programming and large-scale optimization) and mechanism design (auction theory and economics). To achieve the full potential of what smart cities, autonomy, and connected transportation systems have to offer, planning and optimization of sub-systems can no longer occur in isolation; instead, they need to be optimized simultaneously as one integrated system. To address the emerging massive-scale planning and dynamic matching problems that support the real-life operation of future peer-to-peer systems, this NSF grant tackles open problems in graph theory, and designs a suite of new specialized methods (namely decomposition and aggregation/disaggregation schemes that utilize the distinct structure of peer-to-peer systems) to obtain exact or bounded solutions efficiently and as quickly as needed, which often implies in real-time. In addition, this grant designs novel mechanisms for pricing and resource exchange in P2P systems. These mechanisms will be individually rational, incentive compatible, and budget balanced, and will resolve the potential trade-off between responsiveness and throughput in transportation systems, and to narrow down the equity gap in access to transportation options.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.