Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - route design, mode - rail


Train control, Running time, Routes, Railroad vehicle operations, Optimization, Optimisation, Energy conservation, Computer programs, Automatic train control, Algorithms


Energy conservation may be an effective way to reduce transit operating costs. This paper describes an analytical process that computes the optimal operating successions of a rail vehicle to minimize energy consumption. The problem of energy efficient train control theoretically can be formulated as one of the functions of optimal control theory. However, the classic numerical optimization methods are too slow to be used in an on-board computer. This study provides an analytical solution that gives the sequence of optimal controls and equations to find the control change points. As a result, a calculation algorithm and a computer program for energy efficient train control has been developed. The program is also capable of developing energy efficient operating schedules by optimizing distributions of running time for an entire route or any part of rail systems. The major application of the proposed algorithms is in fully or partially automated train control systems. Modern train control systems, often referred to as "positive" train control, have collected a large amount of information to ensure safety of train operations. The same data, which includes track plan, track profile, traction and braking characteristics, speed limits and required trip time, can be used to compute the optimum control on-board to minimize energy consumption based on the algorithms proposed in this paper.


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