Ride-hailing companies will face the emergence and gradual expansion of AVs-only zones in urban areas where only automated vehicles (AVs) are allowed to circulate. When owning a mixed fleet (automated and conventional taxis), a ride-hailing company has to determine the optimal fleet size as a function of the gradually expanding coverage of AVs-only zones while taking into account interactions with privately-owned human-driven vehicles. To model this problem, we propose a bi-level framework in which the lower level captures the mixed routing behaviour of the vehicles and the endogenous traffic congestion, and the upper level determines fleet sizes to maximise profit. A parallel genetic algorithm is introduced to solve this bi-level framework, which is embedded with a tailored algorithm for solving the lower-level model. Numerical experiments are conducted on instances based on a small network and the network of the city of Delft, The Netherlands, to demonstrate the performance of the proposed solution method and investigate the impacts of AVs-only zones on traffic and ride-hailing operations. Results indicate that the fleet size of automated taxis increases nonlinearly with the expansion of the AVs-only zone while that of conventional taxis decreases as demand shifts from human-driven vehicles to automated taxis. The fleet size decision depends heavily on the fleet's cost structure, the location and the distribution of parking depots. Furthermore, the existence of an AVs-only zone leads to detours for human-driven vehicles in the early stages, but it will bring major benefits by reducing congestion as its size increases.
- Fleet sizing
- Approximated mixed equilibrium
- AVs-only zone
- e-hailing services