Adaptive railway traffic control using approximate dynamic programming

This study presents an adaptive railway traffic controller for real-time operations based on approximate dynamic programming (ADP). By assessing requirements and opportunities, the controller aims to limit consecutive delays resulting from trains that entered a control area behind schedule by sequencing them at a critical location in a timely manner, thus representing the practical requirements of railway operations. This approach depends on an approximation to the value function of dynamic programming after optimisation from a specified state, which is estimated dynamically from operational experience using reinforcement learning techniques. By using this approximation, the ADP avoids extensive explicit evaluation of performance and so reduces the computational burden substantially. In this investigation, the authors explore formulations of the approximation function and variants of the learning techniques used to estimate it. Evaluation of the ADP methods in a stochastic simulation environment shows considerable improvements in consecutive delays by comparison with the current industry practice of First-Come-First-Served sequencing. The authors also found that estimates of parameters of the approximate value function are similar across a range of test scenarios with different mean train entry delays.


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  • Accession Number: 01705220
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 15 2019 3:05PM