Urquhart, Neil B, McEwan, Tom, Holden, R and Vogogias, Thanasis (2009) CO2Y the intelligent green solution: minimising carbon emissions by maximising shared travel opportunity. In: Scottish Transport Applications Research Conference, 2009 May, Glasgow. (Unpublished)
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It is in the interests of everybody that the environment is protected. In view of the recent leaps in environmental awareness it would seem timely and sensible, therefore, for people to pool vehicle resources to minimise the damaging impact of emissions. However, this is often contrary to how complex social systems behave – local decisions made by self-interested individuals often have emergent effects that are in the interests of nobody.
For software engineers a major challenge is to help facilitate individual decision-making such that individual preferences can be met, which, when accumulated, minimise adverse effects at the level of the transport system. We introduce this general problem through a concrete example based on vehicle-sharing.
Firstly, we outline the kind of complex transportation problem that is directly addressed by our technology (CO2y™ - pronounced “cosy”), and also show how this differs from other more basic software solutions.
The CO2y™ architecture is then briefly introduced. We outline the practical advantages of the advanced, intelligent software technology that is designed to satisfy a number of individual preference criteria and thereby find appropriate matches within a population of vehicle-share users.
An example scenario of use is put forward, i.e., minimisation of grey-fleets within a medium-sized company. Here we comment on some of the underlying assumptions of the scenario, and how in a detailed real-world situation such assumptions might differ between different companies, and individual users.
Finally, we summarise the paper, and conclude by outlining how the problem of pooled transportation is likely to benefit from the further application of emergent, nature-inspired computing technologies. These technologies allow systems-level behaviour to be optimised with explicit representation of individual actors. With these techniques we hope to make real progress in facing the complexity challenges that transportation problems produce.
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