Botte, Marilisa (2017) Modelling of interactions between rail service and travel demand: a passenger-oriented analysis. [Tesi di dottorato]


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Item Type: Tesi di dottorato
Resource language: English
Title: Modelling of interactions between rail service and travel demand: a passenger-oriented analysis
Date: 9 December 2017
Number of Pages: 283
Institution: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Department: dep09
Dottorato: phd039
Ciclo di dottorato: 30
Coordinatore del Corso di dottorato:
Date: 9 December 2017
Number of Pages: 283
Keywords: Rail systems; travel demand interactions; public transport optimisation
Settori scientifico-disciplinari del MIUR: Area 08 - Ingegneria civile e Architettura > ICAR/05 - Trasporti
Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > MAT/08 - Analisi numerica
Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > MAT/09 - Ricerca operativa
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 14:37
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2019 08:50

Collection description

The proposed research is situated in the field of design, management and optimisation in railway network operations. Rail transport has in its favour several specific features which make it a key factor in public transport management, above all in high-density contexts. Indeed, such a system is environmentally friendly (reduced pollutant emissions), high-performing (high travel speeds and low values of headways), competitive (low unitary costs per seat-km or carried passenger-km) and presents a high degree of adaptability to intermodality. However, it manifests high vulnerability in the case of breakdowns. This occurs because a faulty convoy cannot be easily overtaken and, sometimes, cannot be easily removed from the line, especially in the case of isolated systems (i.e. systems which are not integrated into an effective network) or when a breakdown occurs on open tracks. Thus, re-establishing ordinary operational conditions may require excessive amounts of time and, as a consequence, an inevitable increase in inconvenience (user generalised cost) for passengers, who might decide to abandon the system or, if already on board, to exclude the railway system from their choice set for the future. It follows that developing appropriate techniques and decision support tools for optimising rail system management, both in ordinary and disruption conditions, would consent a clear influence of the modal split in favour of public transport and, therefore, encourage an important reduction in the externalities caused by the use of private transport, such as air and noise pollution, traffic congestion and accidents, bringing clear benefits to the quality of life for both transport users and non-users (i.e. individuals who are not system users). Managing to model such a complex context, based on numerous interactions among the various components (i.e. infrastructure, signalling system, rolling stock and timetables) is no mean feat. Moreover, in many cases, a fundamental element, which is the inclusion of the modelling of travel demand features in the simulation of railway operations, is neglected. Railway transport, just as any other transport system, is not finalised to itself, but its task is to move people or goods around, and, therefore, a realistic and accurate cost-benefit analysis cannot ignore involved flows features. In particular, considering travel demand into the analysis framework presents a two-sided effect. Primarily, it leads to introduce elements such as convoy capacity constraints and the assessment of dwell times as flow-dependent factors which make the simulation as close as possible to the reality. Specifically, the former allows to take into account the eventuality that not all passengers can board the first arriving train, but only a part of them, due to overcrowded conditions, with a consequent increase in waiting times. Due consideration of this factor is fundamental because, if it were to be repeated, it would make a further contribution to passengers’ discontent. While, as regards the estimate of dwell times on the basis of flows, it becomes fundamental in the planning phase. In fact, estimating dwell times as fixed values, ideally equal for all runs and all stations, can induce differences between actual and planned operations, with a subsequent deterioration in system performance. Thus, neglecting these aspects, above all in crowded contexts, would render the simulation distorted, both in terms of costs and benefits. The second aspect, on the other hand, concerns the correct assessment of effects of the strategies put in place, both in planning phases (strategic decisions such as the realisation of a new infrastructure, the improvement of the current signalling system or the purchasing of new rolling stock) and in operational phases (operational decisions such as the definition of intervention strategies for addressing disruption conditions). In fact, in the management of failures, to date, there are operational procedures which are based on hypothetical times for re-establishing ordinary conditions, estimated by the train driver or by the staff of the operation centre, who, generally, tend to minimise the impact exclusively from the company’s point of view (minimisation of operational costs), rather than from the standpoint of passengers. Additionally, in the definition of intervention strategies, passenger flow and its variation in time (different temporal intervals) and space (different points in the railway network) are rarely considered. It appears obvious, therefore, how the proposed re-examination of the dispatching and rescheduling tasks in a passenger-orientated perspective, should be accompanied by the development of estimation and forecasting techniques for travel demand, aimed at correctly taking into account the peculiarities of the railway system; as well as by the generation of ad-hoc tools designed to simulate the behaviour of passengers in the various phases of the trip (turnstile access, transfer from the turnstiles to the platform, waiting on platform, boarding and alighting process, etc.). The latest workstream in this present study concerns the analysis of the energy problems associated to rail transport. This is closely linked to what has so far been described. Indeed, in order to implement proper energy saving policies, it is, above all, necessary to obtain a reliable estimate of the involved operational times (recovery times, inversion times, buffer times, etc.). Moreover, as the adoption of eco-driving strategies generates an increase in passenger travel times, with everything that this involves, it is important to investigate the trade-off between energy efficiency and increase in user generalised costs. Within this framework, the present study aims at providing a DSS (Decision Support System) for all phases of planning and management of rail transport systems, from that of timetabling to dispatching and rescheduling, also considering space-time travel demand variability as well as the definition of suitable energy-saving policies, by adopting a passenger-orientated perspective.


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