The potential of flexible reservations in a car sharing system with an auction scheme

Mireia Roca-Riu, Monica Menendez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last 20 years car sharing has been a growing trend in personal mobility. Multiple aspects of these systems have been already discussed: different forms of car sharing, user's preferences and behavior, or benefits estimation. Nevertheless, the management of these systems needs to be continuously improved to remain a competitive alternative. In this work, we propose a reservation scheme to manage rental reservations of a two-way station-based car sharing system. It allows the operator to better plan the necessary vehicles at each station, and encourages the drivers to make better use of the existing vehicles, by showing flexibility in the starting rental time. The reservation scheme is organized with an auction, where drivers bet for their preferred rental start time. Drivers participating in the auction are offered a reduced rental fare, which is then complemented with the reservation fee that results from the auction. The auction is solved under Vickrey-Clarke-Groves (VCG) mechanism for combinatorial auctions, which guarantees the desired properties for the operator and a fair assignment for the drivers. The proposed scheme is tested on instances inspired by the Mobility car sharing system in Zürich, Switzerland. The results show that operators could decrease their fleets with low to no impacts on the overall rental revenues, especially when drivers show flexibility in their rental start times. For certain levels of demand price elasticity, even positive impacts on the overall rental revenues can be expected. Moreover, reservation fees are proven to partially compensate for the decrease in rental revenues provided to the auction users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8873589
Pages (from-to)154627-154639
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2019


  • Car sharing
  • combinatorial auctions
  • reservation system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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