Crew Management in Passenger Rail Transport
Crew management in passenger rail transport is an important factor that contributes to both the quality of service to the railway passengers and to the operational costs of the train operating company. This thesis describes how the (railway) Crew Management process can be improved with the introduction of advanced decision support systems, based on advanced mathematical models and algorithms. We provide a managerial perspective on the change process, related to the introduction of these systems, and give an overview of the lessons learned.
We have shown that introducing decision support can give substantial improvements in the overall performance of a railway company. Within NS, the support for the Crew Management process has led to a stable relationship between management and train crew. In addition, the lead-time of the planning process is shortened from months to hours and NS is now able to perform scenario analyses, e.g., to study effects of adjusting the labour rules.
Also, NS can adjust their service when severe weather conditions are expected, by creating a specific winter timetable shortly before the day of operation. Finally, we also introduced a decision support system for real-time rescheduling of crew duties on the day of operations. This enables us to adapt the actual crew schedules very quickly. As a result, we reduce the number of cancelled trains and fewer trains will be delayed in case of unforeseen disruptions.