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Timetable quality from the perspective of a railway infrastructure manager in a deregulated market: An interview study with Swedish practitioners
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Communications and Transport Systems. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. RISE Res Inst Sweden, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Communications and Transport Systems. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6880-8549
RISE Res Inst Sweden, Sweden.
2020 (English)In: Journal of Rail Transport Planning & Management, ISSN 2210-9706, E-ISSN 2210-9714, Vol. 15, article id 100202Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Railway capacity allocation in a deregulated market requires planners to solve a mathematically complex optimization problem while simultaneously arbitrating the wants and needs of different stakeholders. This paper analyses timetable quality from the perspective of timetable planners working for the Swedish infrastructure manager Trafikverket. Seven quality aspects are discussed: feasibility, disturbance resistance, competition management, capacity safeguarding, application fulfilment, attractiveness and compatibility with surrounding planning areas. Each aspect is introduced, including references to legal documents, development projects, and research literature. Further, an interview study with eight practitioners gives insight into the current state of practice in Sweden. The practitioners consider feasibility to be both most important and easiest to handle. Capacity safeguarding is considered least important, despite its prevalence in legal documents and envisioned process developments, and is also considered hardest to handle. In general, formal rules and guidelines seem important for emphasising the importance of a quality aspect in the planning process. To better support the planners in their arbitrating role, timetable planning tools based on mathematical optimization models could be implemented. For example, support tools could be used to analyse different solutions, and could unburden the planner from working with feasibility aspects by providing automatic conflict identification and resolution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ELSEVIER SCI LTD , 2020. Vol. 15, article id 100202
Keywords [en]
Timetable; Infrastructure manager; Analytic hierarchy process; Quality; Deregulation; Railway
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-169220DOI: 10.1016/j.jrtpm.2020.100202ISI: 000560298800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-169220DiVA, id: diva2:1466643
Conference
8th International Conference on Railway Operations Modelling and Analysis (RainNorrkoping), Norrkoping, SWEDEN, jun 17-20, 2019
Note

Funding Agencies|Trafikverket (the Swedish Transport Administration) [2017/6461]

Available from: 2020-09-12 Created: 2020-09-12 Last updated: 2022-04-11
In thesis
1. Optimisation models for train timetabling and marshalling yard planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Optimisation models for train timetabling and marshalling yard planning
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Railways provide high capacity, safe and energy efficient transportation of goods and passengers. However, railway transportation also suffers from intrinsic restrictions and the effectiveness and efficiency of the transportation depend on the railway actors’ ability to solve a set of hard and interconnected planning problems. As the digitalisation of rail-way planning advance, compute-intensive decision support tools could be implemented to support the planners’ work. Two support functions that would be useful are automatic generation of new plans and optimisation of existing plans. In this thesis, mathematical models are developed and analysed for optimisation of (1) train timetables and (2) marshalling yard plans. The aim is to investigate the feasibility and potential of using mixed integer linear programming (MILP) models to solve these two planning problems. To this aim, requirements and planning goals are identified and modelled as mathematical constraints and objective functions. The resulting mathematical models are then tested on realistic problem instances, and the execution times and optimised plans are analysed to determine if the mathematical models could be useful in practice.

The thesis contributes with an analysis of the definition of ”good” in a railway timetable setting from the perspective of an infrastructure manager, a novel mathematical model for timetable planning, an optimisation-based heuristic for decreasing execution times and last but not least an analysis of the potential of using optimisation to enable a new type of annual capacity allocation. For marshalling yard planning, the thesis contributes with an analysis of three different mathematical models for planning one of the sub-yards of a marshalling yard, and with an extended, more comprehensive, mathematical model that can be used to plan two sub-yards. Further, a heuristic is developed for the more comprehensive problem, and the effects of optimising two sub-yards rather than one are analysed.

The overall conclusion is that MILP models can contribute to improved railway planning. By using MILP optimisation, more effective plans can be made faster. However, more research is needed to reach the full potential of mathematical optimisation for railway planning problems, in particular when it comes to user experience and user interaction, but also to further decrease the execution times and extend the problem scope that can be handled.

This thesis consists of two parts. The first part introduces and summarises the research. It provides background knowledge on the two planning problems as well as on mathematical optimisation, and also present the research framework and some overall conclusions and suggestions for future work. The second part of the thesis consists of five appended papers, three on train timetabling and two on marshalling yard planning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2022. p. 43
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 2216
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-184283 (URN)10.3384/9789179292560 (DOI)9789179292553 (ISBN)9789179292560 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-05-13, K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Transport Administration
Available from: 2022-04-11 Created: 2022-04-11 Last updated: 2022-04-22Bibliographically approved

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