Modeling the first train timetabling problem with minimal missed trains and synchronization time differences in subway networks

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - interchange/transfer, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, operations - coordination, operations - scheduling, place - asia, place - urban, planning - methods, planning - network design


First train timetabling, MIP model, Linearization, Heuristic, Case study


Urban railway transportation organization is a systematic activity that is usually composed of several stages, including network design, line planning, timetabling, rolling stock and staffing. In this paper, we study the optimization of first train timetables for an urban railway network that focuses on designing convenient and smooth timetables for morning passengers. We propose a mixed integer programming (MIP) model for minimizing train arrival time differences and the number of missed trains, i.e., the number of trains without transfers within a reasonable time at interchange stations as an alternative to minimize passenger transfer waiting times. This is interesting from the operator's point of view, and we show that both criteria are equivalent. Starting from an intuitive model for the first train transfer problem, we then linearize the non-linear constraints by utilizing problem specific knowledge. In addition, a local search algorithm is developed to solve the timetabling problem. Through computational experiments involving the Beijing subway system, we demonstrate the computational efficiency of the exact model and the heuristic approach. Finally, three practical suggestions are proposed for the operation and management of the urban railway transit system.


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


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