Photo: Thomas Hjort Jensen

Taxi sharing made possible by students’ algorithm

Monday 28 Jan 19


Jacob Nordfalk
Associate Professor
DTU Diplom
+45 26 20 65 12
BEng students have developed the mathematics underlying the new taxi sharing service CabShare.

Khurram Saeed Malik and Agamjyot Singh—both students on the BEng programme in IT and Economics—are on a mission to reduce traffic jams, pollution, and waiting times—and they have chosen mathematics as their weapon. Together with Associate Professor Jacob Nordfalk from DTU Diplom, they have developed the algorithm for the recently launched CabShare service that makes it easy to find someone to share a taxi with.

The algorithm compares your current location and your destination with other people’s travel plans to plan the optimum passenger mix and calculate a route. The service even calculates how much each passenger must pay for their part of the ride.

“Sharing taxis eliminates a lot of unnecessary traffic and protects the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road so you can reach your destination faster and by lowering CO2 emissions,” says Agamjyot.

But these are not the only advantages: “The waiting time in the taxi queue will also be shorter, and to top it off, you save as much as 60 per cent on the bill.

The taxi driver also benefits as the drive will be longer and there won’t be quite as much driving with an empty car,” explains Khurram.

The idea for the CabShare service stems from Betina Joost and Henrik Paltoft—the founders of the business. Like many others, they have experienced waiting impatiently in a long, hot queue at the airport taxi terminal, and on a hot afternoon at Portugal’s Porto Airport, they realized that most of the people in the queue were heading more or less in the same direction.

A quick coupling with the concept of sharing economy gave rise to the idea of a taxi sharing service, and with help from Associate Professor Jacob Nordfalk with whom Henrik has worked several times in the past, the idea began to take shape—and Jacob also arranged the contact to the two students who helped transform the project from idea into reality.

The app is now being implemented with an algorithm, which will make it possible to share taxies even if you do not start at the same place. And after the launch in the Greater Copenhagen area it will be rolled out to other cities in Denmark, and then to more European capitals.