Driver Positioning and Incentive Budgeting with an Escrow Mechanism for Ridesharing Platforms

2020 Daniel H. Wagner Finalist The Personal Power Zone (PPZ) product manages the spatial distribution of drivers to keep Lyft’s service levels high. There are two components to this work: (1) an "escrow mechanism" that tracks cash deposits and expenditure of account balances specific to spatiotemporal buckets and (2) the convex optimization algorithm that solves the PPZ stochastic control problem to maximize short-run ride conversions subject to various logistical constraints. Together, this "Escrow PPZ" algorithm generates incentives that coordinate and direct drivers to the right spots in anticipation of ride requests.