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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2015 TOPIC AREA: Integrating freight and passenger systems CENTER: METRANS UTC

Integration of Passenger and Freight Rail Scheduling

Project Summary

Project number: MT-15-04

Funding source: Caltrans

Contract number: 65A0533

Funding amount: $99,975

Performance period: 8/15/2015 to 8/14/2016


Project description


In the United States, freight railways are one of the major ways to transport goods from ports to inland destinations. According to an Association of American Railroad's study, rail companies move more than 40% of the nation's total freight. Given the fact that the freight railway industry is already running without much excess capacity, better planning and scheduling tools are needed to effectively manage the scarce resources, to cope with the rapidly increasing demand for railway transportation. 


The integration of freight train and passenger train scheduling and dispatching is an important railroad management task. Leveraging the current railroad trackage to meet the expanding demand in the future is a challenge. The objective of this project is to improve the efficiency of freight trains by reducing their traveling times while maintaining the punctuality of passenger trains. Thus, we propose a decomposition based heuristic that first minimizes the tardiness of passenger trains and second minimizes the travel times of the freight trains. Our proposed algorithm solves the routing and scheduling problem for real world size rail networks efficiently.


We perform simulation experiments on an actual rail network in Southern California to test our proposed heuristic approach. The proposed solution reduces the average travel time of freight trains and reduces the average tardiness of passenger trains over other existing approaches. 




Maged Dessouky
Dean's Professor and Chair, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
3715 McClintock Ave.
Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center (GER) 206ALos Angeles, CA 90089-0193
United States
[email protected]