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Dispatching and coordination in multi-area railway traffic management. (English) Zbl 1307.90095
Summary: This paper deals with the development of decision support systems for traffic management of large and busy railway networks in case of severe disturbances. Railway operators typically structure the control of complicated networks into the coordinated control of several local dispatching areas. A dispatcher takes rescheduling decisions on the trains running on its local area while a coordinator addresses global issues that may arise between areas. While several advanced train dispatching models and algorithms have been proposed to support the dispatchers’ task, the coordination problem did not receive much attention in the literature on train scheduling. This paper presents new heuristic algorithms for both local dispatching and coordination and compares centralized and distributed procedures to support the task of dispatchers and coordinators. We adopt dispatching procedures driven by optimization algorithms and based on local or global information and decisions. Computational experiments on a Dutch railway network, actually controlled by ten dispatchers, assess the performance of the centralized and distributed procedures. Various traffic disturbances, including entrance delays and blocked tracks, are analyzed on various time horizons of traffic prediction. Results show that the new heuristics clearly improve the global performance of the network with respect to the state of the art.

90B90 Case-oriented studies in operations research
90B35 Deterministic scheduling theory in operations research
90B20 Traffic problems in operations research
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