In this paper, we analyze the trade-off between perceived fairness and perceived attractiveness in crew rostering. First, we introduce the Fairness-oriented Crew Rostering Problem. In this problem, attractive cyclic rosters have to be constructed, while respecting a pre-specified fairness level. Then, we propose a flexible mathematical formulation, able to exploit problem specific knowledge, and develop an exact Branch-Price-and-Cut solution method. The solution method combines Branch-and-Bound with column generation, where profitable columns are separated by solving resource constrained shortest path problems with surplus variables. We also derive a set of valid inequalities to tighten the formulation. Finally, we demonstrate the benefit of our approach on practical instances from Netherlands Railways, the largest passenger railway operator in the Netherlands. We are able to construct the explicit trade-off curve between fairness and attractiveness and show that a sequential approach can lead to suboptimal results. In particular, we show that focusing solely on fairness leads to rosters that are disproportionally less attractive. Furthermore, this decrease in attractiveness is heavily skewed towards the most exible employees. Thus, in order to generate truly fair rosters, the explicit trade-off between fairness and attractiveness should be considered.

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Econometric Institute Research Papers
Erasmus School of Economics

Breugem, T., Dollevoet, T., & Huisman, D. (2017). Is Equality always desirable? (No. EI2017-30). Econometric Institute Research Papers. Retrieved from