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Module II - Efficient resource management in public transportation

Motivated by the expected population growth in Vienna, Module II - Efficient resource management in public transportation aims to tackle the arising challenges in urban public transit. Our industrial partner, Vienna’s public transport provider Wiener Linien GmbH & Co KG, faces an increasing demand, i.e. more passengers use the public transit system. Consequently, the provider is interested in optimizing the headway by considering customer-oriented and cost-oriented objectives. Furthermore, the provider seeks guidelines and recommendations for dealing with service disruptions and breakdowns.

Maintenance and headway optimization

The tactical research questions of this module address increased frequencies and integration of maintenance scheduling. Due to increased frequencies, the rolling stock is used to a greater extent and therefore has a shorter service life. In order to reduce the probability of failure and to increase the service life of the fleet, the maintenance has to be done at the right time. Various scenarios are considered to study and analyze the consequences of different frequencies and maintenance strategies with regard to conflicting multiple objectives such as customer and crew satisfaction, service quality and operational costs.

Disruption management

Vienna’s public transport provider occasionally faces disruptions in its service operations. These disruptions range from minor incidents, as small delays of metro trains, to a blockage of a metro line section. The measures to take in the context of serious disruptions include line planning of the replacement service and crew re-scheduling. For regular scenarios the provider has its guidelines to re-establish regular service. By developing an optimization model and corresponding solution approaches, there might be room for improvements, though.

Further benefits

In addition to the mentioned goals, there might be other recommendations the can be derived from the outcomes. By identifying the optimal headway of the lines, the crowdedness in stations can be analyzed and security concerns may be derived, which in turn gives the provider incentives to overcome these issues. The outcome of the analysis of the disruption management might suggest to install bus depots in order to install replacement services more quickly or to construct additional rails for establishing alternative routes in case of a blockage of some line segments. Consequently, the results may also have an effect on the infrastructure.

Solution approaches

Solution techniques given the large scale of the network and the complex nature of the problems, the corresponding optimization problems may be hard to solve. Moreover, in particular for the case of disruption management, the provider might require the respective results quickly. Therefore metaheuristic solution approaches have to be implemented that guarantee a good trade-off between computation time and solution quality. In general, metaheuristics are frameworks that can be applied on different problems and typically aim to provide good - but not necessarily optimal - solutions in reasonable time. However, exact methods might be incorporated to solve partial problems to optimality. In addition, a simulation-based approach may be appropriate to analyze the effect of different frequencies and maintenance strategies.


Production and Operations Management with International Focus
Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics
University of Vienna
Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1
A-1090 Vienna
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University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0