Multiobjective Timetable Development Tool for Railway Strategic Planning in Norway
Strategic planning is critical in helping railways develop optimal programs for improving their business by making service more attractive and efficient. Preparing a strategic plan requires comparing multiple alternatives and options, each requiring time-consuming planning, evaluation, and analysis. To improve this process Jernbanedirektoratet, Norway’s Railway Directorate, began a research project to develop a state-of-the-art railway timetable generation tool that could be integrated into the agency’s existing timetable planning process. The new tool, called Automatic Timetabler with Multiple Objectives (ATMO), is designed to transform conceptual passenger and freight service requirements into working timetables, while ensuring robustness and minimizing time losses. It is designed to bridge the gap between less detailed (macroscopic) models used in timetable development and detailed (microscopic) traffic simulation models. More specifically, it is a mesoscopic model, simplifying some infrastructure elements while using more detailed representations of others (e.g., using specific track allocations in stations). In practice, the tool quickly provides planners with many feasible and good timetables using high-level timetable requirement data. This ability is very useful for strategic planning because it enables planners to quickly evaluate alternative timetable concepts. This paper describes the new timetable generator tool, its development, and results of a case study application.