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Rescheduling/timetable optimization of trains along the U.S. shared-use corridors : development of the hybrid optimization of train schedules (HOTS) model.
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  • Abstract:
    A growing demand for passenger and freight transportation, combined with limited capital to expand

    the United States (U.S.) rail infrastructure, are creating pressure for a more efficient use of the current

    line capacity. This is further exacerbated by the fact that most passenger rail services operate on

    corridors that are shared with freight traffic. Tools and methodologies for capacity analysis are one

    approach to investigate the situation. As the U.S. continues to develop higher speed passenger services

    with similar characteristics to those in European shared-use lines, understanding how such analysis are

    done in both continents grows in relevance. A detailed investigation was done to understand how each

    continent approaches capacity analysis, and whether any benefits could be gained from crosspollination.

    It was found that there was no major divergence between approaches or criteria used for

    capacity. However, there are differences in the tools used in these two regions, as the tool designs

    follow the main operational philosophy of each region (timetable based in Europe vs. non-timetable

    based in the U.S.).

    Timetable management is one of the operational methodologies commonly applied in the highly

    structured European rail system to improve the capacity utilization while maintaining acceptable level

    of service (LOS) parameters. The potential benefits of using similar methodologies to benefit the less

    structured U.S. system were studied in this research. A Hybrid Simulation approach was developed as

    part of the research to investigate the use of timetable management features and to analyze the tradeoff

    between LOS parameters and capacity utilization in the U.S. In the method, the output from Rail

    Traffic Controller (RTC), a simulation tool commonly used in the U.S., was used as an input for

    timetable compression by RailSys (a simulation tool developed in Europe).

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