Equity-oriented skip-stopping schedule optimization in an oversaturated urban rail transit network

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - subway/metro, operations - capacity, operations - crowding, operations - performance, place - asia, place - urban, policy - equity


Skip-stopping, Equity performance, Urban rail transit network, Space-time-state network, Lagrangian relaxation


In this study, we focus on improving system-wide equity performance in an oversaturated urban rail transit network based on multi-commodity flow formulation. From the system perspective, an urban rail transit network is a distributed system, where a set of resources (i.e., train capacity) is shared by a number of users (i.e., passengers), and equitable individuals and groups should receive equal shares of resources. However, when oversaturation occurs in an urban rail transit network during peak hours, passengers waiting at different stations may receive varying shares of train capacity leading to the inequity problem under train all-stopping pattern. Train skip-stopping pattern is an effective operational approach, which holds back some passengers at stations and re-routes their journeys in the time dimension based on the available capacity of each train. In this study, the inequity problem in an oversaturated urban rail transit network is analyzed using a multi-commodity flow modeling framework. In detail, first, discretized states, corresponding to the number of missed trains for passengers, are constructed in a space-time-state three-dimensional network, so that the system-wide equity performance can be viewed as a distribution of all passengers in different states. Different from existing flow-based optimization models, we formulate individual passenger and train stopping pattern as commodity and network structure in the multi-commodity flow-modeling framework, respectively. Then, we aim to find an optimal commodity flow and well-designed network structure through the proposed multi-commodity flow model and simultaneously achieve the equitable distribution of all passengers and the optimal train skip-stopping pattern. To quickly solve the proposed model and find an optimal train skip-stopping pattern with preferable system-wide equity performance, the proposed linear programming model can be effectively decomposed to a least-cost sub-problem with positive arc costs for each individual passenger and a least-cost sub-problem with negative arc costs for each individual train under a Lagrangian relaxation framework. For application and implementation, the proposed train skip-stopping optimization model is applied to a simple case and a real-world case based on Batong Line in the Beijing Subway Network. The simple case demonstrates that our proposed Lagrangian relaxation framework can obtain the approximate optimal solution with a small-gap lower bound and a lot of computing time saved compared with CPLEX solver. The real-world case based on Batong Line in the Beijing Subway Network compares the equity and efficiency indices under the operational approach of train skip-stopping pattern with those under the train all-stopping pattern to state the advantage of the train skip-stopping operational approach.


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


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