Cyclic Railway Timetabling: A Stochastic Optimization Approach
32 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2005
Date Written: October 2, 2005
Real-time railway operations are subject to stochastic disturbances. However, a railway timetable is a deterministic plan. Thus a timetable should be designed in such a way that it can absorb the stochastic disturbances as well as possible. To that end, a timetable contains buffer times between trains and supplements in running times and dwell times. This paper first describes a stochastic optimization model that can be used to find an optimal allocation of the running time supplements of a single train on a number of consecutive trips along the same line. The aim of this model is to minimize the average delay of the train. The model is then extended such that it can be used to improve a given cyclic timetable for a number of trains on a common infrastructure. Computational results show that the average delay of the trains can be reduced substantially by applying relatively small modifications to the timetable. In particular, allocating the running time supplements in a different way than what is usual in practice can be useful.
Keywords: railway transportation, stochastic optimization, punctuality, buffer times, cyclic timetables
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