series: EI 2008-19
The new Dutch timetable: The OR revolution
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In December 2006, Netherlands Railways introduced a completely new timetable. Its objective was to facilitate the growth of passenger and freight transport on a highly utilized railway network, and improve the robustness of the timetable resulting in less train delays in the operation. Further adjusting the existing timetable constructed in 1970 was not option anymore, because further growth would then require significant investments in the rail infrastructure. Constructing a railway timetable from scratch for about 5,500 daily trains was a complex problem. To support this process, we generated several timetables using sophisticated operations research techniques, and finally selected and implemented one of these timetables. Furthermore, because rolling-stock and crew costs are principal components of the cost of a passenger railway operator, we used innovative operations research tools to devise efficient schedules for these two resources. The new resource schedules and the increased number of passengers resulted in an additional annual profit of 40 million euros ($60 million) of which about 10 million euros were created by additional revenues. We expect this to increase to 70 million euros ($105 million) annually in the coming years. However, the benefits of the new timetable for the Dutch society as a whole are much greater: more trains are transporting more passengers on the same railway infrastructure, and these trains are arriving and departing on schedule more than they ever have in the past. In addition, the rail transport system will be able to handle future transportation demand growth and thus allow cities to remain accessible. Therefore, people can switch from car transport to rail transport, which will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
- crew schedules