Smartphone data from riders and drivers schlepping meals for restaurant-to-home courier service Deliveroo shows that bicycles are faster than cars and motorized two-wheelers. From a news writeup, which sources its data from Deliveroo, a UK-headquartered food delivery company with more than 30,000 riders and drivers in 13 countries: That bicyclists are faster in cities will come as no surprise to bicycle advocates who have staged so-called “commuter races” for many years. However, these races — organized to highlight the swiftness of urban cycling — are usually staged in locations and at hours skewed towards bicycle riders. The Deliveroo stats are significant because they have been extracted from millions of actual journeys. And it’s all thanks to Frank. Frank is the name Deliveroo gives its routing algorithm (the name was chosen for the Danny DeVito character in the TV series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”) Delivering millions of simultaneous orders from thousands of restaurants to hungry consumers within 30 minutes using roving self-employed couriers equipped with smartphones is a complex vehicle routing problem: consumers want piping hot food; restaurants want meals picked up when cooked; riders — paid per drop — want multiple deliveries per hour, and Deliveroo needs to make money. The algorithm team employs data scientists with PhDs in computer vision, computer science, operations research, cognitive neuroscience, econometrics, machine learning, and physics.
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