University of Minnesota


DTC Seminar Series

Improving urban mobility with transit centric on-demand services


Samitha Samaranayake
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Cornell University

Monday, April 29, 2019
2:00 pm reception
2:30 pm seminar

401/402 Walter Library

Samitha Samaranayake

The rapid expansion of on-demand ride-hailing services has changed the transportation landscape in many cities worldwide. While these services provide a valuable service, as evident by their popularity, there are many questions regarding their scalability, efficiency, equity and negative externalities (e.g. congestion, pollution etc.). One way to mitigate some of these concerns is to consider high-capacity ride-pooling services, where many passengers share a vehicle simultaneously. Operationalizing such a system requires the ability to efficiently match large groups of riders to a fleet of shared vehicles in real time, a computationally challenging task to solve at an urban scale. The first part of this talk presents a framework for solving this problem at the scale of New York City, capable of routing ~450,000 passengers a day in real-time using a fleet of two to three thousand shared micro-transit vehicles of capacity four to ten. The second part of the talk will focus on a discussion around how these on-demand services can/should be integrated with more traditional mass-transit systems to exploit the benefits of both types of systems (while limiting their drawbacks), and how to incorporate behavioral and economic considerations into such assessments.


Samitha Samaranayake is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University with graduate field faculty affiliations in Operations Research and Information Engineering, the Center for Applied Mathematics, and Systems Engineering. His research interests are in the modeling, analysis and control of networked infrastructure systems with a focus on transportation systems. He is particularly interested in developing computationally efficient solution techniques and algorithms that enable practical applications. Prior to joining Cornell he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at MIT. He completed his Ph.D. in Systems Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in December 2014. He has worked in the server technologies group at Oracle, the design for test (DFT) group at Synopsys, the transit algorithms team at Google and the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA). Samitha received his Bachelors and M.Eng. in Computer Science from MIT and an M.Sc. in MS&E from Stanford University.

Contact Information

Digital Technology Center

499 Walter Library, 117 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: (612) 624-9510

Connect on Social Media