PhD Defence Rolf van Lieshout
In his dissertation 'Integration, Decentralization and Self-Organization: Towards Better Public Transport' Rolf van Lieshout sought to improve the planning process of public transport operators by integrating planning steps that are traditionally performed sequentially. Furthermore he investigated 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. Last, he tested decentralized dispatching of both vehicles and crew in a microscopic railway simulation. Rolf will defend his dissertation on Friday, 13 May 2022 at 10:30. His supervisors are Prof. Dennis Huisman (ESE), Prof. Paul Bouman (ESE), and Prof. Marjan van den Akker (Utrecht University). Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Prof. Anita Schobel (TU Kaiserslautern), Prof. Rob Goverde (TU Delft), and Prof. Albert Wagelmans (ESE).
Rolf Nelson van Lieshout was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 1994. Rolf holds a Bachelor’s degree in Econometrics and Operations Research and a Master’s degree in Econometrics and Management Science, with a specialization in Operations Research and Quantitative Logistics. Both degrees were obtained summa cum laude from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In his research, Rolf applies advanced analytical techniques to improve decision-making in transportation and logistics, with a focus on public transport.
In 2017, Rolf started working as a PhD candidate at the Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and was part of the PhD program of the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). Rolf's work has been published in journals such as Transportation Science and Transportation Research Part B. Moreover, he was awarded second place in the 2018 INFORMS RAS student paper award at the INFORMS annual meeting. During his PhD, Rolf regularly visited the department of Process quality and Innovation of Netherlands Railways, as well as the Innovation department of ProRail. He is currently working as an assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) within the Operations, Planning, Accounting and Control (OPAC) Group.
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.
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