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  • 1.
    Ait Ali, Abderrahman
    et al.
    Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Society, environment and transport, Transport economics.
    Eliasson, Jonas
    Linköpings universitet.
    Railway capacity allocation: a survey of market organizations, allocation processes and track access charges2019Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In the last few decades, many railway markets (especially in Europe) have been restructured to allow competition between different operators. This survey studies how competition has been introduced and regulated in a number of different countries around the world. In particular, we focus on a central part of market regulation specific to railway markets, namely the capacity allocation process. Conflicting capacity requests from different train operators need to be regulated and resolved, and the efficiency and transparency of this process is crucial. Related to this issue is how access charges are constructed and applied. Several European countries have vertically separated their railway markets, separating infrastructure management from train services provisions, thus allowing several train operators to compete with different passengers and freight services. However, few countries have so far managed to create efficient and transparent processes for allocating capacity between competing train operators, and incumbent operators still have larger market-share in many markets.

  • 2.
    Ait Ali, Abderrahman
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science, Transport Planning, Economics and Engineering.
    Lindberg, Per Olov
    KTH.
    Nilsson, Jan-Eric
    Eliasson, Jonas
    Aronsson, Martin
    Disaggregation in Bundle Methods: Application to the Train Timetabling Problem2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Bundle methods are often used to solve dual problems that arise from Lagrangian relaxations of large scale optimization problems. An example of such problems is the train timetabling problem. This paper focuses on solving a dual problem that arises from Lagrangian relaxation of a train timetabling optimization program. The dual problem is solved using bundle methods. We formulate and compare the performances of two different bundle methods: the aggregate method, which is a standard method, and a new, disaggregate, method which is proposed here. The two methods were tested on realistic train timetabling scenarios from the Iron Ore railway line. The numerical results show that the new disaggregate approach generally yields faster convergence than the standard aggregate approach.

  • 3.
    Ait Ali, Abderrahman
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science, Transport Planning, Economics and Engineering.
    Warg, Jennifer
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science, Transport Planning, Economics and Engineering.
    Eliasson, Jonas
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science, Transport Planning, Economics and Engineering.
    Measuring the Socio-economic Benefits of Train Timetables: Application to Commuter Train Services in Stockholm2017In: 20th EURO Working Group on Transportation Meeting, EWGT 2017, 4-6 September 2017, Budapest, Hungary, Elsevier, 2017, Vol. 27, p. 849-856Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    On highly used railway lines with heterogeneous traffic, timetabling is challenging. In particular, the limited existing capacity means that to guarantee an acceptable level of quality, the infrastructure manager must cancel some train services on the expense of others. In this article, we study the conflict between commercial long-distance trains and subsidized commuter trains with a socio-economic perspective (i.e. travelers and train operators). The study attempts to answer the following question: What is the socio-economic effect of modifying the timetable of a commuter service?The case study treats the commuter train services in Stockholm. Trip data was collected from the local commuter train operator. An entropy maximization-based model was implemented to estimate the dynamic network Origin-Destination (OD) matrix. This dynamic matrix, of one full working day, was then used to estimate the number of travelers per train, and further converted for use in the microscopic simulation tool RailSys. Travel and waiting time are estimated for each OD pair and with that the generalized costs for the travelers and operators. The effect of crowding in the trains is included in the estimation. The article can be considered as an initiation to a novel method to calculate effects of changes in commuter train timetables. This novel approach enables to price commercial train slots in the capacity allocation process such as in an auction. It provides a new way to estimate the local train operator´s valuation of the different parameters (i.e. waiting, travel time and interchanges). Using RailSys for the estimation of times makes it possible to include capacity aspects that normally are difficult to reveal.

  • 4.
    Ait Ali, Abderrahman
    et al.
    Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Society, environment and transport, Transport economics.
    Warg, Jennifer
    KTH.
    Eliasson, Jonas
    Linköpings universitet.
    Pricing commercial train path requests based on societal costs2019Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    On deregulated railway markets, efficient capacity allocation is important. We study the case where commercial trains and publicly controlled traffic (“commuter trains”) use the same railway infrastructure and hence compete for capacity. We develop a method that can be used by an infrastructure manager trying to allocate capacity in a socially efficient way. The method calculates the loss of social benefits incurred by changing the commuter train timetable to accommodate a commercial train path request and based on this calculates a reservation price for the train path request. If the commercial operator’s willingness-to-pay for the train path exceeds the loss of social benefits, its request is approved. The calculation of social benefits takes into account changes in commuter train passengers’ travel times, waiting times, transfers and crowding, and changes in operating costs for the commuter train operator(s). The method is implemented in a microscopic simulation program, which makes it possible to test the robustness and feasibility of timetable alternatives. We show that the method is possible to apply in practice by demonstrating it in a case study from Stockholm, illustrating the magnitudes of the resulting commercial train path prices. We conclude that marginal societal costs of railway capacity in Stockholm are considerably higher than the current track access charges.

  • 5.
    Ait-Ali, Abderrahman
    Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Communications and Transport Systems.
    Assessing the Use of Welfare-Based Track Access Charging for Railway Capacity Allocation2019Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The deregulation of railway markets has brought new challenges to the capacity allocation process. In this context, we present a new hybrid methodology for allocating railway capacity to commercial train operators. Commercial freight or passenger train operators compete with each other as well as with subsidised local commuter trains. In the method presented in this article, minimal track access charges are computed using a social cost-benefit analysis of alternative commuter train timetables. These minimal charges are used as a starting or reservation price in an auction-based method for capacity allocation between the commercial operators. The aim of this study is to assess the use of such a welfare-based track access charging system in a real case scenario. On a congested line in the region of Stockholm, we evaluate the welfare-based access charges of commercial operators. We show that the new methodology can be used to allocate capacity between subsidized and commercial train operators. Moreover, we provide an estimate of the marginal minimal access charge per train path that the commercial operators request.

  • 6.
    Warg, Jennifer
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Transport Planning, Economics and Engineering.
    Ait-Ali, Abderrahman
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Transport Planning, Economics and Engineering.
    Eliasson, Jonas
    Assessment of Commuter Train Timetables Including Transfers2019In: 21st EURO Working Group on Transportation Meeting, EWGT 2018, 17th – 19th September 2018, Braunschweig, Germany, 2019, Vol. 37, p. 11-18Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many railway networks suffer from high capacity utilisation. For scheduling all services, adjustments to the desired slots are often needed. Such adjustments might lead to longer travel times, crowded trains, longer waiting times for boarding and for transfers. All of this has an important socio-economic impact on both travellers and train operators. This raises the question of the socio-economic assessment of changes in commuter train timetables including transfers. Thus, the aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of adjustments of commuter train timetables on the traveller (i.e. consumer costs) and the train operator (i.e. producer costs). These costs are estimated based on all train trips and operations in the network. In a case study, the effect of changes in departure times (resulting in non-regular interval timetables) is analysed. Further, the price of cancelling a two-way service during different times of the day is compared. The results show that changing departure times can both decrease and increase the total costs, and that regularity for parallel services might not be as important as expected if it is kept for each separate service. For the second study, waiting times for transfers were indicated to have a (too) large impact which can lead to misleading results and might be adjusted in future work. The model is adequate for such kind of questions but needs some more adjustments. For railway networks with dense and heterogeneous traffic (as is the case in Sweden), the contributions of this model are useful for making the challenging timetabling process easier and commuter train services less costly.

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