R.N. (Rolf) van Lieshout MSc

Rolf van Lieshout
Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences
Eindhoven University of Technology
ERIM PhD Candidate
Field: Logistics & Information Systems
Affiliated since 2017

Rolf van Lieshout (1994) is a PhD candidate at the Erasmus School of Economics. In his research, Rolf works on developing new disruption management strategies for extreme disruptions in railway systems. In particular, the goal is to find new ways to avoid (or at least reduce the impact) of out-of-control situations, situations where traffic controllers no longer have an overview over the system, and therefore decide to terminate all railway traffic in a part of the network. These situations are typically caused by extreme weather conditions or power outages. As conventional methods are unable to deal with the size and high degree of uncertainty of these disruptions, new disruption management strategies need to be developed. Supervisors: prof.dr. Dennis Huisman and dr. Paul Bouman

PhD Track Integration, Decentralization and Self-Organization: Towards Better Public Transport

Public transport brings undisputed benefits to modern-day societies. Aside from providing an affordable means to get around, its supreme efficiency in comparison with private transport plays a crucial role in curbing congestion and pollution, highlighting the importance of adequate design and operation of public transport systems.

The first part of this thesis seeks to improve the planning process of public transport operators by integrating planning steps that are traditionally performed sequentially. The first study considers a combination of line planning and vehicle scheduling, and presents methods that estimate how many vehicles are required to operate a line plan, without having to compute a timetable. The second study combines timetabling and vehicle scheduling, and develops a novel optimization model for jointly optimizing a periodic timetable and vehicle circulation schedule.

The second part of this thesis investigates decentralized strategies for operating public transport, with a focus on railway systems. Such strategies could be preferable over conventional centralized and schedule-based control in various scenarios. The first study in this part presents a theoretical analysis of a simple, decentralized strategy for dispatching vehicles. The second study considers the application of decentralized control to out-of-control situations in railways, which includes the development of a solution algorithm to find line plans that are suited for these circumstances. The final study in this thesis tests decentralized dispatching of both vehicles and crew in a microscopic railway simulation.

Public transport optimization, line planning, timetabling, vehicle scheduling, disruption management, rescheduling, distributed system, self-stabilization, headway control, complexity, railway simulation
Time frame
2017 -


  • Academic (1)
    • van Lieshout, R., & Bouman, P. (2018). Vehicle Scheduling Based on a Line Plan. In 18th Workshop on Algorithmic Approaches for Transportation Modelling, Optimization, and Systems (ATMOS 2018) (Vol. 65, pp. 15:1-15:14) https://doi.org/10.4230/OASIcs.ATMOS.2018.15

  • Internal (1)
    • van Lieshout, R. (2022). Integration, Decentralization and Self-Organization: Towards Better Public Transport. Erasmus University.

  • Academic (1)
    • van Lieshout, R., van den Akker, J. M., Mendes Borges, R., Druijf, T., & Quaglietta, E. (2021, Nov). Microscopic Simulation of Decentralized Dispatching Strategies in Railways. Econometric Institute, Erasmus University. Econometric Institute Research Papers No. EI-1708

  • Academic (2)
    • van Lieshout, R., Bouman, P., van den Akker, ME., & Huisman, D. (2020). A Self-Organizing Policy for Vehicle Dispatching in Public Transit Systems with Multiple Lines. (EI report serie EI2020-06 ed.) Econometric Institute. EI report serie Vol. EI2020-06

    • van Lieshout, R. (2019). Integrated Periodic Timetabling and Vehicle Circulation Scheduling. (Econometric Institute Research Papers EI2019-27 ed.) Econometric Institute. http://hdl.handle.net/1765/118702

Research Seminar
As: Speaker


Visiting address

Postal address

Postbus 513
5600 MB Eindhoven