Bi-Weekly Talk: Stephan Zieger: A simulation framework for the operation of automated small rail vehicles in rural areas

Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 10:30am

Location: Online session

Speaker: Stephan Zieger


A simulation framework for the operation of automated small rail vehicles in rural areas


Rail transport in rural areas has often been negatively affected by political as well as demographic changes in recent decades. A vicious circle was initiated by the increasing individual motorisation, which created less demand, which in turn reduced the service. The end of this process is often the decommissioning or even dismantling of such regional tracks.


One possibility to reactivate these lines is the use of small highly automated vehicles, which are operated based on demand. In this way, only trips that are in demand will be performed and the residents will have the opportunity to reach destinations by rail again. This idea can also have a network effect and should therefore not be evaluated in isolation.


In addition to legal and economic aspects, operational challenges also play a major role. The annual timetable planning process is often lengthy and requires a lot of information over a long period of time. In the case considered in the paper, the requests are collected and then a timetable is created in short time, for example for the following day, which tries to accommodate as many requests as possible.


For this purpose, a simulation environment is presented in this paper, which makes it possible to transfer the trip requests into a conflict-free timetable using an insertion heuristic. The process steps are described in brief and an application example shows the possibilities of utilisation. Various Key Performance Indicators are discussed, which can be determined from the simulation.