ISyE Seminar Series: Dawn Woodard

Dawn Woodard

"Map Technologies for Ride-Sharing"

Presentation by Dawn Woodard
Senior Director of Applied Science

Wednesday, September 29
3:30-5:00 PM CST — Graduate Seminar and Reception (Zoom)

*Required attendance for students in IE 5773, 8773, and 8774

About the seminar:

Extensive literature now exists on methods for pricing and matching in ride-sharing platforms, such as Uber, Lyft, Didi Chuxing, and Ola. However, less attention has been paid to the complex geospatial inputs required for these systems. For example, carpool matching methods require accurate predictions of the time required to travel between any two locations in the road network. We describe geospatial (map) technologies, including those for travel time prediction and route optimization, that can be used in the context of such large-scale vehicle decision systems. We showcase the challenges, such as data sparsity on parts of the road network, and the fact that highly accurate predictions need to take into account the detailed dynamics of a physical system (traffic patterns in a road network). We also compare several common approaches for travel time prediction, and provide rigorous theoretical results showing that one class of approaches has higher accuracy than alternatives.


Dawn Woodard leads modeling and data analytics for platforms including Uber Maps, which is the mapping platform used in Uber’s user interfaces and decision systems. The team’s technologies include road map and points of interest definition, map search, route optimization, travel time prediction, and navigation. Dr. Woodard earned her PhD in statistics from Duke University, after which she was a faculty member in the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering at Cornell. There she developed forecasting methods for emergency vehicle decision support systems, in collaboration with ambulance organizations. After receiving tenure at Cornell, she joined Microsoft Research for her sabbatical, where she created travel time prediction methods for use in Bing Maps. She then transitioned to Uber, leading modeling and analytics for the pricing and matching teams, eventually transitioning to her current role in Platforms.

Seminar Video:

Start date
Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, 3:30 p.m.
End date
Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, 5 p.m.