Real-Time Mass Passenger Transport Network Optimization Problems

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, operations - scheduling, planning - route design, planning - signage/information, ridership - commuting


Vehicle fleets, Transportation networks, Scheduling, Routes and routing, Real-time mass transport vehicle routing problem, Real time information, Passenger transportation, Optimization, Optimisation, Motor vehicle fleets, Mathematical analysis, Fleets (Vehicles), Evacuation, Barcelona (Spain)


The aim of the real-time mass transport vehicle routing problem (MTVRP) is to find a solution to route n vehicles in real time to pick up and deliver m passengers. This problem is described in the context of flexible large-scale mass transportation options that use new technologies for communication among passengers and vehicles. This study does not focus on the technological aspects required to operate this kind of system but instead treats the theoretical approaches to provide a consistent mathematical formulation of the problem and its solution. This analytical effort is relevant to future transportation options involving large-scale real-time routing of shared-ride fleet transit vehicles. However, the global optimization of a complex system involving routing and scheduling multiple vehicles and passengers as well as design issues has not been specifically studied in the past. This research proposes a methodology to solve it by means of a three-level hierarchical optimization approach. Within the optimization process, a mass transport network design problem (MTNDP) is solved. The MTVRP is introduced and a scheme to solve it is presented. Then the associated algorithm to perform the MTNDP optimization is described in detail. A real-world application is solved for the MTNDP, showing promising results with regard to the applicability of the methodology for large-scale transit problems.