Developing and Deploying a Taxi Price Comparison Mobile App in the Wild: Insights and Challenges

Anastasios Noulas, Vsevolod Salnikov, Desislava Hristova, Cecilia Mascolo, Renaud Lambiotte

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Abstract

As modern transportation systems become more complex, there is need for mobile applications that allow travelers to navigate efficiently in cities. In taxi transport the recent proliferation of Uber has introduced new norms including a flexible pricing scheme where journey costs can change rapidly depending on passenger demand and driver supply. To make informed choices on the most appropriate provider for their journeys, travelers need access to knowledge about provider pricing in real time. To this end, we developed OpenStreetcab a mobile application that offers advice on taxi transport comparing provider prices. We describe its development and deployment in two cities, London and New York, and analyse thousands of user journey queries to compare the price patterns of Uber against major local taxi providers. We have observed large heterogeneity across the taxi transport markets in the two cities. This motivated us to perform a price validation and measurement experiment on the ground comparing Uber and Black Cabs in London. The experimental results reveal interesting insights: not only they confirm feedback on pricing and service quality received by professional drivers users, but also they reveal the tradeoffs between prices and journey times between taxi providers. With respect to journey times in particular, we show how experienced taxi drivers, in the majority of the cases, are able to navigate faster to a destination compared to drivers who rely on modern navigation systems. We provide evidence that this advantage becomes stronger in the centre of a city where urban density is high.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalArXiv pre-print
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2017

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Application programs
Costs
Navigation systems
Feedback
Experiments

Keywords

  • cs.CY

Cite this

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