Workshop on Public Transport - November 21, 2017

ECOPT intends to organize several small workshops with both a scientific speaker and a speaker from practice. The first workshop takes place on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Speakers and program

The speakers in this workshop are:

  • Pieter Vansteenwegen (KU Leuven)
  • Erik Hamoen (NS and ProRail, ``Beter en Meer'')

The program is as follows.

13:45 - 14:00 Welcome
14:00 - 15:00 Pieter Vansteenwegen

Considering a dynamic impact zone to improve real-time railway management

15:00 - 15:30 Break
15:30 -16:30 Erik Hamoen Preparing for high-frequency railway operations between Amsterdam and Eindhoven
From 16:30 Drinks


Pieter Vansteenwegen: Considering a dynamic impact zone to improve real-time railway management

In a railway system, a conflict occurs when two trains require the same part of the infrastructure at the same time. Currently, such conflicts are typically solved manually by experienced dispatchers. However, it is impossible for them to fully anticipate the impact of their actions on the entire network. This talk proposes a conflict prevention strategy directly targeting the work of the dispatcher, by focusing on the relevant part of the network and traffic, and proposing a solution to that part only. This strategy works by first looking for possible rerouting options by using an optimization model. If no solution is found, then a solution based on delaying one of the trains is required. This retiming heuristic uses information from an offline calculation, for determining related conflicts that frequently occur. In this way, a so called dynamic impact zone is created online for each conflict. When deciding which train to delay, the potential conflicts and the incurred delays of all trains in this dynamic impact zone are taken into account. The performance of this new conflict prevention strategy is compared to a common dispatching strategy, other heuristics and an exact method. Extensive experiments on a large part of the Belgian railway network show that by creating this dynamic impact zone, the total delay can be decreased at least by 67 % compared to the basic First Come, First Served decision rule. Moreover, the dynamic impact zone has a reasonable size, and scales well to large networks, as only the relevant conflicts and their expected consequences are considered. This makes our heuristic very fast. The computation time for returning a solution to a conflict with the proposed conflict prevention strategy is for 95 % of the conflicts less than two seconds and takes at most 21 seconds, including the creation of the dynamic impact zone of the conflict.

Erik Hamoen: Preparing for high-frequency railway operations between Amsterdam and Eindhoven

NS and ProRail have been working together in the program Better for More over the last years to prepare for high-frequency railway operations between Amsterdam and Eindhoven. To maintain the same level of performance whilst running a more frequent service you have to improve your operations. Within the program multiple projects have been undertaken to achieve this goal covering the following disciplines: rolling stock, staff, traffic management, infrastructure and learning from daily operations. Next to these improvement projects this year we have been preparing for example by organizing multidisciplinary simulation sessions to test the speed of the traffic management process. In the final phase we have been conducting live testing in our daily operations. The last 14 Wednesdays leading towards the timetable change in December we ran a high frequency timetable. On the 21 November I will look back on this program and will share with you what we can learn from a combined multidisciplinary improvement program.

Practical information

Venue: EUR campus Woudestein, Tinbergen Building, H10-31. Directions on how to get to the campus can be found here. To find the Tinbergen Building on the campus, one can consult this map

Registration: Participation in the workshop is free. However, only a limited number of places are available. Therefore, we ask you to register for the workshop by sending an email to Registrations will be served on a first-come-first-serve basis.