Over €150M per year is spent by Kela (The Social Insurance Institution) supporting millions of trips to healthcare locations by Taxi. The purpose of this compensation is to ensure access to health services for all.
The aim of the twoday trip merging solution, developed for Taksi Helsinki, is to combine Kela-supported taxi trips so that several customers travel in the same taxi. As a result of combining the rides in the most efficient way, Kela’s costs for providing the service will decrease while also reducing the environmental impact.
Finding good ride combinations isn’t easy. All passengers must arrive to their appointments on time, the journeys must not be extended more than is reasonable, the total distance must be sufficiently shortened and all passengers must be able to travel together and fit in the allocated vehicle. When several customers enter and exit the vehicle, it also requires some extra time for the trip. All factors must be taken into account in the combined ride proposals in order to maintain a good customer experience and achieve the goals of combining the rides.
Taksi Helsinki operates as a service provider for Kela rides in eight municipalities. We at twoday applied the optimization algorithm we developed earlier to combine rides together with Taksi Helsinki and their dispatch partner MTI Dispatch.
Optimization is suitable for situations where several similar decisions are made simultaneously and the effects are measurable. In terms of combining rides, the metrics of the situation are clear – the fewer kilometers it takes to take the customers to their destination, the better. The majority of these taxi rides can be combined with another if the boundary conditions are met. For each ride, you have to decide whether to combine or not, and if so, what to combine with. twoday’s algorithm is able to go through a number of combinations in a short time and display the best suggestions to the user.
According to Teemu Niemelä, Service Manager at Taksi Helsinki, the solution developed for combining rides has worked very well.
“twoday’s solution has beaten expectations. We can combine one fifth of Kela rides and we are the most efficient operator in Finland in this regard. In Uusimaa alone, more than 250,000 kilometers of driving are saved annually through efficient and automatic ride combinations. The financial savings are, approximately, double the savings in kilometers,” says Niemelä.
Compensated taxi trips for their users are an essential part of everyday life and their availability is crucial. The purpose of combining rides is to ensure that anyone who needs a ride gets one.
“By serving several customers with the same car, the availability of cars is improved and the toll on the environment decreased,” says Niemelä.
Many companies are looking for cost savings, a smoother customer experience, faster delivery and better availability. These are often difficult issues for which there are no easy solutions. But mathematical optimization can help us solve complex problems more efficiently than humans – and achieve more with fewer resources.
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