Dynamic incentive schemes for managing dockless bike-sharing systems

Huan Jin (Corresponding Author), Shaoxuan Liu (Corresponding Author), Kut C. So, Kun Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Balancing supply and demand for a dockless bike-sharing system is difficult as users are allowed to pick up and return bikes anywhere within a large service area. One strategy to help manage the amount of dockless bikes scattered within a service area is to offer monetary rewards for users who would be willing to pick up bikes scattered around some central location or to return their bikes at this central location. We develop a modeling framework to analyze the effectiveness of using dynamic incentive schemes for balancing the amount of bikes in the system to minimize the expected operating cost. Using an extensive set of numerical experiments, we illustrate specific operation environments under which these dynamic incentive schemes would be most effective for reducing the operating cost of the system. We find that the use of dynamic pickup and return rewards can generate very substantial cost reductions in an operating environment with a high traffic intensity of bike return outside the central location and a high overall traffic intensity of bike returns relative to bike pickups in the system. We also find that return rewards are generally more cost-effective than pickup rewards.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103527
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Bike re-balancing
  • Birth-and-death process
  • Dockless bike-sharing
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Incentive schemes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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