Vending Location Trading Platform (VLTP)

DC Food Truck Vending Location Trading Platform

Problem Statement

This problem first arose because Washington D.C. had very limited space for food trucks, especially space that is highly profitable for food trucks.  The D.C. government attempted to solve this problem by implementing the MRV lottery system to generate a monthly schedule for the food trucks.  This however led to dissatisfaction for the food trucks because it limited where they could do business, and forced them into certain locations on days when they did not want to be in their assigned location.  This led to underutilization of MRV locations.  In addition, although vendors are asked to submit their preferences for MRV locations, the DCRA assigns spots randomly and without regard to the vendors’ preferences.

In addition to dissatisfaction with the lottery, food trucks are also dissatisfied with the current trading mechanism available to them after lottery results are released.  According to DCRA regulations, spot assignments cannot be sold, but they can be traded on a “one spot for one spot” basis.  All trades must be approved through multiple emails involving the DCRA.  Because of this, very few trades occur after the MRV schedule is released.  In both the initial lottery and secondary trading, food trucks are usually unable to obtain their preferred locations.

The problem of limited space is not solvable, simply because more space in Washington D.C. cannot be obtained.  The problem of the MRV lottery system cannot be solved in the scope of this master’s project because it would involve changing a regulation set in place by the Washington D.C. government.  However, the problem of secondary trading is solvable and is the focus of this project.