Taxi Dispatch with Real-Time Sensing Data in Metropolitan Areas: A Receding Horizon Control Approach

Fei Miao, Shuo Han, Shan Lin, John A. Stankovic, Desheng Zhang, Sirajum Munir, Hua Huang, Tian He, George J. Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Traditional taxi systems in metropolitan areas often suffer from inefficiencies due to uncoordinated actions as system capacity and customer demand change. With the pervasive deployment of networked sensors in modern vehicles, large amounts of information regarding customer demand and system status can be collected in real time. This information provides opportunities to perform various types of control and coordination for large-scale intelligent transportation systems. In this paper, we present a receding horizon control (RHC) framework to dispatch taxis, which incorporates highly spatiotemporally correlated demand/supply models and real-time Global Positioning System (GPS) location and occupancy information. The objectives include matching spatiotemporal ratio between demand and supply for service quality with minimum current and anticipated future taxi idle driving distance. Extensive trace-driven analysis with a data set containing taxi operational records in San Francisco, CA, USA, shows that our solution reduces the average total idle distance by 52%, and reduces the supply demand ratio error across the city during one experimental time slot by 45%. Moreover, our RHC framework is compatible with a wide variety of predictive models and optimization problem formulations. This compatibility property allows us to solve robust optimization problems with corresponding demand uncertainty models that provide disruptive event information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7438925
Pages (from-to)463-478
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IEEE.


  • Intelligent transportation system
  • mobility pattern
  • real-time taxi dispatch
  • receding horizon control


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