Futility of being selfish in optimized traffic

Ho Fai Jacky PO, Chi Ho YEUNG, David SAAD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Optimizing traffic flow is essential for easing congestion. However, even when globally optimal, coordinated, and individualized routes are provided, users may choose alternative routes which offer lower individual costs. By analyzing the impact of selfish route choices on performance using the cavity method, we find that a small ratio of selfish route choices improves the global performance of uncoordinated transportation networks but degrades the efficiency of optimized systems. Remarkably, compliant users always gain in the former and selfish users may gain in the latter, under some parameter conditions. The theoretical results are in good agreement with large-scale simulations. Iterative route switching by a small fraction of selfish users leads to Nash equilibria close to the globally optimal routing solution. Our theoretical framework also generalizes the use of the cavity method, originally developed for the study of equilibrium states, to analyze iterative game-theoretical problems. These results shed light on the feasibility of easing congestion by route coordination when not all vehicles follow the coordinated routes. Copyright © 2021 American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number022306
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
Early online date08 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


Po, H. F., Yeung, C. H., & Saad, D. (2021). Futility of being selfish in optimized traffic. Physical Review E, 103(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.103.022306


Dive into the research topics of 'Futility of being selfish in optimized traffic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.