A dynamic pricing scheme with negative prices in dockless bike sharing systems

Jie Zhang, M Meng, David ZW Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (SciVal)


To achieve bike relocation1 through travellers’ spontaneous behaviour in dockless bike sharing systems, an innovative dynamic pricing scheme with negative prices is introduced. In normal situation, users pay a positive price to operators for using a bike. However, when imbalanced distribution of bikes occurs in the system, users who cycle from the oversupplied area to undersupplied area will receive monetary reward from the operator, i.e., negative pricing applies. A user equilibrium dynamic traffic assignment model is developed to capture travellers’ mode-path choice behaviour in response to the proposed dynamic pricing strategy. Travellers can either use a single transportation mode (e.g. walking, cycling and bus) or take multiple modes to complete their trips. The user equilibrium travel pattern is formulated as a variational inequality problem and then solved by a path-flow swapping algorithm. Two numerical examples are conducted to demonstrate that the proposed dynamic pricing strategy with negative prices is effective in terms of attracting users as well as achieving a more balanced bike repositioning, especially when the number of bikes provided in the system is limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-224
Number of pages24
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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