Optimizing the demand captured by a railway system with a regular timetable

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, operations - scheduling, place - europe, planning - travel demand management, ridership - demand


Regular timetable, Modal choice, Discrete-choice model, Branch-and-bound


The railway systems in various European countries adopt regular timetables, in which the trains arrive and depart at constant intervals. In fact, their simple structure provides several advantages both to the passengers and to the management of the service. The design of such timetables has recently received a certain attention in the literature, but the standard model aims to optimize the service for a fixed demand. We relax this unrealistic assumption, taking into account the reciprocal influence between the quality of the timetable and the amount of transport demand captured by the railway. This results into a mixed-integer non linear model with a non-convex continuous relaxation. We solve it by a branch-and-bound algorithm based on a piecewise-linear overestimate of the objective function and a heuristic algorithm which iteratively applies the standard fixed-demand model and a demand-estimation model, feeding each one with data based on the solution obtained from the other one at the previous iteration. The computational results presented concern both random instances and a real-world regional network located in Northwestern Italy.


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


Transportation Research Part B Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01912615