Modeling a rail transit alignment considering different objectives

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, economics - capital costs, mode - rail, ridership - demand, place - north america, technology - geographic information systems


Rail transit alignment, Optimization, Genetic Algorithm, GIS, Variable demand


An optimization model for station locations for an on-ground rail transit line is developed using different objective functions of demand and cost as both influence the planning of a rail transit alignment. A microscopic analysis is performed to develop a rail transit alignment in a given corridor considering a many-to-one travel demand pattern. A variable demand case is considered as it replicates a realistic scenario for planning a rail transit line. A Genetic Algorithm (GA) based on a Geographical Information System (GIS) database is developed to optimize the station locations for a rail transit alignment. The first objective is to minimize the total system cost per person, which is a function of user cost, operator cost, and location cost. The second objective is to maximize the ridership or the service coverage of the rail transit alignment. The user cost per person is minimized separately as the third objective because the user cost is one of the most important decision-making factors for planning a transit system from the users’ perspective. A transit planner can make an informed decision between various alternatives based on the results obtained using different objective functions. The model is applied in a case study in the Washington, DC area. The optimal locations and sequence of stations obtained using the three objective functions are presented and a comparative study between the results obtained is shown in the paper. In future works we will develop a combinatorial optimization problem using the aforementioned objectives for the rail transit alignment planning and design problem.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Transportation Research Part A Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09658564