Scheduling freight trains traveling on complex networks
Author(s): Mu, Shi; Dessouky, Maged
All authors:
Shi Mu, Maged Dessouky
Host organisation:
CoE Southern California U, USA
Country: United States of America
Publication year: 2011
Published in:
Transportation Research Part B: Methodological , 45, 1103-1123, 2011.
Research theme: Management and Control, Policy and Planning, Urban Freight
Trains; Scheduling; Optimization; Heuristics
Research article
In the US, freight railways are one of the major means to transport goods from ports to inland destinations. According to the Association of American Railroad´s study, rail companies move more than 40% of the nation´s total freight. Given the fact that the freight railway industry is already running without much excess capacity, better planning and scheduling tools are needed to effectively manage the scarce resources, in order to cope with the rapidly increasing demand for railway transportation. This research develops optimization based approaches for scheduling of freight trains. Two mathematical formulations of the scheduling problem are first introduced. One assumes the path of each train, which is the track segments each train uses, is given and the other one relaxes this assumption. Several heuristics based on mixtures of the two formulations are proposed. The proposed algorithms are able to outperform two existing heuristics, namely a simple look-ahead greedy heuristic and a global neighborhood search algorithm, in terms of railway total train delay. For large networks, two algorithms based on the idea of decomposition are developed and are shown to significantly outperform two existing algorithms.
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