Network spot-checking games: Theory and application to toll enforcing in transportation networks

  • We introduce the class of spot-checking games (SC games). These games model problems where the goal is to distribute fare inspectors over a toll network. In an SC game, the pure strategies of network users correspond to paths in a graph, and the pure strategies of the inspectors are subset of arcs to be controlled. Although SC games are not zero-sum, we show that a Nash equilibrium can be computed by linear programming. The computation of a strong Stackelberg equilibrium (SSE) is more relevant for this problem and we give a mixed integer programming (MIP) formulation for this problem. We show that the computation of such an equilibrium is NP-hard. More generally, we prove that it is NP-hard to compute a SSE in a polymatrix game, even if the game is pairwise zero-sum. Then, we give some bounds on the price of spite, which measures how the payoff of the inspector degrades when committing to a Nash equilibrium. Finally, we report computational experiments on instances constructed from real data, for an application to the enforcement of a truck toll in Germany. These numerical results show the efficiency of the proposed methods, as well as the quality of the bounds derived in this article.

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Author:Ralf Borndörfer, Julia Buwaya, Guillaume Sagnol, Elmar Swarat
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):Networks
First Page:312
Last Page:328
Publisher:Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Year of first publication:2015

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