Zipcar and two PhD candidates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tianli Zhou and Evan Fields, have joined forces on a transportation project that seeks to make it even easier to get around Boston by ensuring Zipcars are available in high-demand areas.

Through the project, Zhou and Fields have created an algorithm that forecasts the demand of Zipcars in Boston for the upcoming month, and suggests areas where Zipcar should scale up or down. The algorithm is based on two years of historical data provided by Zipcar, and a data-driven simulator that allows the researchers to understand changing patterns in demand throughout the Boston area. This project not only makes transportation more efficient in Boston, it also aligns with Zipcar’s goal of reducing personal car ownership across the globe.

“I think transportation is one of the most important topics in future urban contexts,” said Tianli Zhou. “Traffic congestion and the resulting air pollution are huge issues in many cities worldwide and I want to do something to mitigate this problem.”

The two MIT researchers are beginning to apply the algorithm to similar Zipcar data from Manhattan and are also investigating how the algorithm can help Zipcar further complement public transportation and improve accessibility across cities worldwide.

For more information on this project, click here.

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