An auction-based approach for prebooked urban logistics facilities

Kaidi Yang, Mireia Roca-Riu, Mónica Menéndez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The proper management of urban loading/unloading facilities is crucial for both the efficiency of the logistic services and urban traffic systems. Thanks to the advances in technologies, such management can be achieved through prebooked systems. In this paper, we propose a comprehensive and unified auction-based approach to optimize the use of prebooked loading and unloading facilities, based on a previous work of the authors. The new proposed approach assigns parking spots to companies and computes the price of the service, to maximize the social welfare of the system. It has the following advantages over the previous system: (i) by employing an auction's formulation based on the Vickrey–Clarke–Groves mechanism, the proposed system explicitly considers the heterogeneity in the penalty functions; (ii) uncertainty in the carrier arrivals due to traffic condition is handled explicitly with an online readjustment and two robust formulations. The proposed auction system is tested on instances inspired by the logistic system in the city of Barcelona. Results show that compared to the previous work, the new approach exploiting the use of new information improves the social welfare by up to 22% with heterogeneous carriers. Results further show that the scenarios where demand is uniformly distributed over the time horizon present better utilities than the scenarios where demand is concentrated following a peak hour behavior. It is also shown that the proposed online readjustment formulation performs similar to the global offline optimum, and significantly improves the social welfare of the system when carriers fail to arrive at the allocated time due to traffic uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-211
Number of pages19
JournalOmega (United Kingdom)
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • City logistics
  • Combinatorial auctions
  • Mechanism design
  • Parking slot Assignment Problem
  • Urban facilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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