Optimal privacy control for transport network data sharing

Brian Yueshuai He, Joseph Y.J. Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the era of smart cities, Internet of Things, and Mobility-as-a-Service, private operators need to share data with public agencies to support data exchanges for “living lab” ecosystems more than ever before. However, it is still problematic for private operators to share data with the public due to risks to competitive advantages. A privacy control algorithm is proposed to overcome this key obstacle for private operators sharing complex network-oriented data objects. The algorithm is based on information-theoretic k-anonymity and, using tour data as an example, where an operator's data is used in conjunction with performance measure accuracy controls to synthesize a set of alternative tours with diffused probabilities for sampling during a query. The algorithm is proven to converge sublinearly toward a constrained maximum entropy under certain asymptotic conditions with measurable gap. Computational experiments verify the applicability to multi-vehicle fleet tour data; they confirm that reverse engineered parameters from the diffused data result in controllable sampling error; and tests conducted on a set of realistic routing records from travel data in Long Island, NY, demonstrate the use of the methodology from both the adversary and user perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-387
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Entropy maximization
  • Open data
  • Privacy
  • Tour generation
  • k-Anonymity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Computer Science Applications


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