Modeling competing free-floating carsharing operators – A case study for Zurich, Switzerland

Publikation aus Life
Kompetenzgruppe Urban Living Lab

Balac M., Becker H., Ciari F., Axhausen K.W.

Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies Volume 98, 12/2019


A considerable amount of research has been devoted to understanding and modeling carsharing services in the past. However, a research question that has not been investigated yet is how carsharing companies affect each other in a competitive market. This paper presents a methodology, based on the MATSim framework, for investigating the interaction of carsharing competitors and uses it to analyze the possible competition of two free-floating carsharing companies in the city of Zurich, Switzerland. It further provides a first attempt to allow agents to make mode-choice decisions based on a discrete choice model that includes carsharing alternatives on a whole plan level. Relocation capabilities are added to the carsharing module that allow for testing of various relocation algorithms.

The paper investigates the competition of carsharing operators on two levels. First, by investigating the impact of different price levels, and second, by allowing one or both of the competitors to perform relocations. The obtained results show that (1) with fixed market rate, operators can obtain the highest profit by offering the service at 0.41 CHF/min, (2) offering different pricing schemes can lead to a higher cumulative payoff, although one of the competitors is left with a reduced profit and (3) performing relocations is unprofitable for the company tasked with the burden of doing it, whilst a competitor may enjoy a free-rider effect with an increasing number of rentals and higher profit.

Keywords: Carsharing, Free-floating, Relocation, Competition, Latent demand, MATSim