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Online Learning for Traffic Routing under Unknown Preferences

Devansh Jalota · Karthik Gopalakrishnan · Navid Azizan · Ramesh Johari · Marco Pavone

Auditorium 1 Foyer 44

Abstract: In transportation networks, road tolling schemes are a method to cope with the efficiency losses due to selfish user routing, wherein users choose routes to minimize individual travel costs. However, the efficacy of tolling schemes often relies on access to complete information on users' trip attributes, such as their origin-destination (O-D) travel information and their values of time, which may not be available in practice. Motivated by this practical consideration, we propose an online learning approach to set tolls in a traffic network to drive heterogeneous users with different values of time toward a system-efficient traffic pattern. In particular, we develop a simple yet effective algorithm that adjusts tolls at each time period solely based on the observed aggregate flows on the roads of the network without relying on any additional trip attributes of users, thereby preserving user privacy. In the setting where the O-D pairs and values of time of users are drawn i.i.d. at each period, we show that our approach obtains an expected regret and road capacity violation of $O(\sqrt{T})$, where $T$ is the number of periods over which tolls are updated. Our regret guarantee is relative to an offline oracle with complete information on users' trip attributes. We further establish a $\Omega(\sqrt{T})$ lower bound on the regret of any algorithm, which establishes that our algorithm is optimal up to constants. Finally, we demonstrate the superior performance of our approach relative to several benchmarks on a real-world traffic network, which highlights its practical applicability.

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