Network Improvement for Equilibrium Routing

  • Umang Bhaskar
  • Katrina Ligett
  • Leonard J. Schulman
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8494)


In routing games, agents pick routes through a network to minimize their own delay. A primary concern for the network designer in routing games is the average agent delay at equilibrium. A number of methods to control this average delay have received substantial attention, including network tolls, Stackelberg routing, and edge removal.

A related approach with arguably greater practical relevance is that of making investments in improvements to the edges of the network, so that, for a given investment budget, the average delay at equilibrium in the improved network is minimized. This problem has received considerable attention in the literature on transportation research. We study a model for this problem introduced in transportation research literature, and present both hardness results and algorithms that obtain tight performance guarantees.

  • In general graphs, we show that a simple algorithm obtains a 4/3-approximation for affine delay functions and an O(p/logp)-approximation for polynomial delay functions of degree p. For affine delays, we show that it is NP-hard to improve upon the 4/3 approximation.

  • Motivated by the practical relevance of the problem, we consider restricted topologies to obtain better bounds. In series-parallel graphs, we show that the problem is still NP-hard. However, we show that there is an FPTAS in this case.

  • Finally, for graphs consisting of parallel paths, we show that an optimal allocation can be obtained in polynomial time.


Transportation Research Average Delay Network Design Problem Total Delay Equilibrium Constraint 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Umang Bhaskar
    • 1
  • Katrina Ligett
    • 1
  • Leonard J. Schulman
    • 1
  1. 1.California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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