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Fleet-sizing and service availability for a vehicle rental system via closed queueing networks

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  • George, David K.
  • Xia, Cathy H.

Abstract

In this paper, we address the problem of determining the optimal fleet size for a vehicle rental company and derive analytical results for its relationship to vehicle availability at each rental station in the company's network of locations. This work is motivated by the recent surge in interest for bicycle and electric car sharing systems, one example being the French program Vélib (2010). We first formulate a closed queueing network model of the system, obtained by viewing the system from the vehicle's perspective. Using this framework, we are able to derive the asymptotic behavior of vehicle availability at an arbitrary rental station with respect to fleet size. These results allow us to analyze imbalances in the system and propose some basic principles for the design of system balancing methods. We then develop a profit-maximizing optimization problem for determining optimal fleet size. The large-scale nature of real-world systems results in computational difficulties in obtaining this exact solution, and so we provide an approximate formulation that is easier to solve and which becomes exact as the fleet size becomes large. To illustrate our findings and validate our solution methods, we provide numerical results on some sample networks.

Suggested Citation

  • George, David K. & Xia, Cathy H., 2011. "Fleet-sizing and service availability for a vehicle rental system via closed queueing networks," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 211(1), pages 198-207, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:211:y:2011:i:1:p:198-207
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Witschel, Julia & Souren, Rainer, 2014. "Kapazitätswirtschaftliche Analyse der Strukturelemente und Determinanten des Bikesharing," Ilmenauer Schriften zur Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Ilmenau, Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre, volume 2, number 22014.
    2. Van der Heide, G. & Roodbergen, K.J., 2013. "Transshipment and rebalancing policies for library books," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(2), pages 447-456.
    3. Christine Fricker & Nicolas Gast, 2016. "Incentives and redistribution in homogeneous bike-sharing systems with stations of finite capacity," EURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics, Springer;EURO - The Association of European Operational Research Societies, vol. 5(3), pages 261-291, August.
    4. Li, Xiaopeng & Ma, Jiaqi & Cui, Jianxun & Ghiasi, Amir & Zhou, Fang, 2016. "Design framework of large-scale one-way electric vehicle sharing systems: A continuum approximation model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 21-45.
    5. Hu, Lu & Liu, Yang, 2016. "Joint design of parking capacities and fleet size for one-way station-based carsharing systems with road congestion constraints," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 93(PA), pages 268-299.
    6. Balsamo, Simonetta & Marin, Andrea, 2013. "Separable solutions for Markov processes in random environments," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 229(2), pages 391-403.
    7. Ariel Waserhole & Vincent Jost, 2016. "Pricing in vehicle sharing systems: optimization in queuing networks with product forms," EURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics, Springer;EURO - The Association of European Operational Research Societies, vol. 5(3), pages 293-320, August.
    8. Schuijbroek, J. & Hampshire, R.C. & van Hoeve, W.-J., 2017. "Inventory rebalancing and vehicle routing in bike sharing systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 257(3), pages 992-1004.
    9. Kaspi, Mor & Raviv, Tal & Tzur, Michal & Galili, Hila, 2016. "Regulating vehicle sharing systems through parking reservation policies: Analysis and performance bounds," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 251(3), pages 969-987.
    10. Nourinejad, Mehdi & Zhu, Sirui & Bahrami, Sina & Roorda, Matthew J., 2015. "Vehicle relocation and staff rebalancing in one-way carsharing systems," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 98-113.
    11. Boyacı, Burak & Zografos, Konstantinos G. & Geroliminis, Nikolas, 2015. "An optimization framework for the development of efficient one-way car-sharing systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 240(3), pages 718-733.
    12. Kallrath, J. & Klosterhalfen, S.T. & Walter, M. & Fischer, G. & Blackburn, R., 2017. "Payload-based fleet optimization for rail cars in the chemical industry," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 259(1), pages 113-129.

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