Assessment of robustness in railway traffic timetables

A tendency seen for the last decades in many European railway networks is a growing demand for capacity. An increased number of operating trains has led to a delay sensitive system where it is hard to recover from delays, where even relatively small delays are easily propagating to other traffic. The overall aim of this thesis is to analyse the robustness of railway traffic timetables; why delays are propagating in the network and how the timetable design and dispatching strategies influence the delays. In this context we want to establish quantitative measures of timetable robustness. There is a need for measures that can be used by the timetable constructors. Measures that identify where and how to improve the robustness and thereby indicating how and where margin time should be inserted. It is also important that the measures can capture interdependencies between different trains. In this thesis we introduce the concept of critical points, which is a practical approach to identify robustness weaknesses in a timetable. In contrast to other measures, critical points can be used to identify specific locations in both time and space. The corresponding measure, Robustness in Critical Points (RCP) provides the timetable constructors with concrete suggestions for which trains that should be given more runtime or headway margin. The measure also identifies where the margin time should be allocated to achieve a higher robustness. In a case study we show that the delay propagation is highly related to the operational train dispatching. This study shows that the current prioritisation rule used in Sweden results in an economic inefficiency and therefore should be revised. This statement is further supported by RCP and the importance of giving the train dispatchers more flexibility to efficiently solve conflict situations.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01631240
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • ISBN: 9789175194370
  • Files: ITRD, VTI
  • Created Date: Mar 30 2017 12:13PM