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New Demand Distribution Formula


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Hey Folks!

 

Lately I've been working a lot on the new demand formula and all of the linear algebra involved with it (I guess @KJS607can take solace in my misery given how much work he'll have with all the new data parameters for different airports, cities and nations). With this, I can release a little bit more information about this algorithm.

First, as mentioned in an earlier dev blog (which I will archive somewhere later, I was able to recover the old server HD, so I do have the pre-crash forums and I intend to archive the data from that forum somewhere, watch this space) there are now 7 different types of passengers that all have different requirements, and each route will have certain demand for each of those categories of travelers. The distribution of these parameters will depend on the city/nation attributes of the arrival/departure cities as well as of course normal things like population, distance whether the flight is international etc. So for example, JFK-LAX will have more business travel demand than OKC-TUL for instance. Of course, it would take some time after 0.3 is released for this to be modeled properly as it will take the data team some time to update everything (by default all the attributes are set as average for everything), inquire with @KJS607if you're interested in helping out. That said, there are a couple of other new things with the model.

City Based Demand Model

Currently the way that population served is generated is by looking at all the populations within the 50 nm radius of the airport, and saying that thats the population served. For the most part this works but does run into issues with airports that are very far away from the cities that they service, it also means that each of the airports is for all intents and purposes its own city. Flights into JFK do not effect EWR, FLL does not siphon passengers from MIA etc. This of course is not realistic, someone flying out of ORD can just as well fly out of MDW so even though Southwest might not fly out of ORD, they still compete with United's hub at ORD. 0.3 will model this by having a city-based demand model. The way that this model works is by first clustering a number of cities into a single metro area, then for every airport is assigned to serve a single metro area. Demand is calculated entirely using the metro area rather than the airport (the airport still matters as it effects the preferences of different passengers, as airports too now have attributes that make it either attractive or not attractive to certain passengers).

Dynamic Distribution

Currently every flight has a reputation value attached to it, this reputation is a combined value of different flight grading metric including things like legroom, IFS, IFE etc. with an additional value grading metric that gives an advantage to flights offering a better deal for passengers given what they are offering (this is not necessarily the cheapest flight, a cheap business class ticket that offers a lot of amenities might have the highest value without being the cheapest flight, though the value metric is primarily designed to benefit LCC's that offer very low cost flights). Each passenger has a maximum price they are willing to pay which is dictated by a Poisson distribution. Every passengers will purchase a ticket on the highest reputation flight that is still within their budget. If no flight is within the budget, the pax dont fly with anyone. This system works but is very simple and very easy to game and figure out. It also creates the unfortunate effect where in especially contentious routes a flight that is only slightly better than a competing flight will see a significant boost in the number of passengers. This is changing. Rather than having a list of preferences, each passengers now has a probability of selecting any given flight, and then thats how a passenger is placed into a flight which should provide a more realistic distribution.

Fuzzy Preferences

Passengers in real life are not scientific in their selection of flights, if two flights are exactly the same except one offers 0.01 inches of legroom, no one is going to really take that into consideration except the most pedantic. As such, rather than using the very percise reputation metrics that are currently in game for ranking flights, the reputation attributes are fuzzied and rounded to make very similar flights get treated more or less the same. This means that for one flight to be ranked above another there must be a noticeable difference between them (either in price, or quality).

Artificial Demand

When Ryan Air adds a flight to the middle of nowhere for 1 pound, the demand comes, and so it will in 0.3. If a particular flight offers a very good value, then low cost tourist demand will artificially increase. This demand will have diminishing returns, and will never be a significant increase (you wont get to sustain 20 daily flights to GEG (unless its a major connecting hub, but more on that at a later time)), and of course you should consider profitability when pursuing this tactic since you need to provide a very cheap ticket. But it is there for you to try.

 

I hope that this update provides a little bit more of an insight into the behind the scenes changes coming to 0.3!

 

PS: I was able to recover the old forums and will be archiving it for y'all to have access to old posts, as well as restoring all the proper roles for veterans etc.

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This is a great change of ideas! Love it! Would it also be cool if you could ‘buy’ certain routes from other airlines. The reason I am thinking this is because once a route fills up, let’s say JFK to LHR, you can’t add a flight and get profit without making the price smaller, which would make less profit. I think that airlines should be able to buy other airline’s routes. It would also make the game more realistic, like when Pan Am went out of business, other airlines, such as United, bought their important routes.

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On 9/18/2020 at 11:21 AM, GGG333 said:

This is a great change of ideas! Love it! Would it also be cool if you could ‘buy’ certain routes from other airlines. The reason I am thinking this is because once a route fills up, let’s say JFK to LHR, you can’t add a flight and get profit without making the price smaller, which would make less profit. I think that airlines should be able to buy other airline’s routes. It would also make the game more realistic, like when Pan Am went out of business, other airlines, such as United, bought their important routes.

Route buying only works for regulated markets (US pre 1970's for instance, or many international flights), however I feel like this is one of those things that while realistic, would take away from the game. This is an interesting mechanic that I want to explore at a later time, however it would probably be restricted to only a few special circumstances (flights between US and Cuba for instance), and/or be made a part of some sort of a special ultra-realistic game-mode if it is ever to be implemented.

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10 hours ago, sviridovt said:

Route buying only works for regulated markets (US pre 1970's for instance, or many international flights), however I feel like this is one of those things that while realistic, would take away from the game. This is an interesting mechanic that I want to explore at a later time, however it would probably be restricted to only a few special circumstances (flights between US and Cuba for instance), and/or be made a part of some sort of a special ultra-realistic game-mode if it is ever to be implemented.

I see. I do think that the ultra-realistic game mode would be nice to see. Thanks for the great information.

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