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Frequent Commuter Program

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Balaji Prabhakar
A lot of media and commentator attention is now focussed on this paper by Stanford computer scientist Balaji Prabhakar:

We describe an experiment conducted in Bangalore, India, for incentivizing a population of commuters to travel at less congested times. The goals were to reduce the travel times
and increase the travel comfort of commuters, and to reduce congestion, fuel consumption and pollution. The project, called INSTANT (for the Infosys-Stanford Traffic project), ran for six months from Oct 6, 2008, to April 10, 2009 and incentivized the employees of Infosys Technologies, Bangalore. We describe the background, the incentive mechanism and
the results. The INSTANT project involved about 14,000 commuters and succeeded in incentivizing many commuters to travel at uncongested times, thereby signifcantly reducing their commute times.

Our approach of providing incentives to decongestors contrasts with the current practice of charging congestors. It also contrasts with prior work on “selfish routing” which focusses on the reaction of commuters to a spatial choice of routes (same time, different routes) as opposed to a temporal choice (same route, different times).

I don’t seem to remember much discussion of this experiment in the Indian media when it happened.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

July 5, 2011 at 4:31 am

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