AI-powered dispatch system predicts demand for taxi services

japan taxi stand
Image credit: Miyuki Satake /

Toyota and JapanTaxi have jointly developed a taxi dispatch support system with KDDI and Accenture that predicts demand for taxi services.

The system combines data from taxi service logs with predictions of demographics made by location-based big data from smartphones as well as event information.

The system uses artificial intelligence to predict the number of occupied taxis in Tokyo using 500-meter, mesh-based parameters every 30 minutes. The companies collect taxi service log data and demographic predictions as well as other factors that affect taxi demand such as weather, public transport service availability, and events at large facilities, and apply learning models through an AI-based system to predict the size of demand.

In a test run in Tokyo, the system demonstrated a high accuracy rate of 94.1%.

AI-powered dispatch system predicts demand for taxi services
Image credit: KDDI

The companies have started to deploy the system in Metropolitan Tokyo on a trial basis. Since February 2018, the companies have been piloting the system with select taxis of Nihon Kotsu (an affiliate company of JapanTaxi) using tablet PCs equipped with the system.

A map on the tablet shows not only the predicted number of occupied taxis but the latest number of unoccupied taxis around the area, which allows drivers to position their taxis based on the supply-demand balance. As a result, more taxis can serve areas with higher demand and insufficient supply to reduce waiting time for passengers while taxi occupancy rate is increased with optimal vehicle-dispatch.

In addition, drivers can receive supporting information on the tablet that shows the routes where they are likely to find passengers, based on insights of excellent drivers.

During the pilot, drivers who used the system recorded an average sales increase of 20.4% on a month-to-month basis, compared to an overall average increase of 9.4%. Dozens more taxis will trial the system with an aim to roll it out for widespread use later in the year.

The companies plan to research the correlations between an analysis of driving image collected from Toyota’s data-transmission TransLog driving recorder of which installation on taxis will be steadily expanded and taxi demand to leverage for the system, and further develop the system to help create a seamless mobility experience.

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