Comparing train driving strategies on multiple key performance indicators

Gerben M. Scheepmaker*, Helen Y. Willeboordse, Jan H. Hoogenraad, Ralph S. Luijt, Rob M.P. Goverde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
215 Downloads (Pure)


The driving strategy of train drivers has a large impact on the energy consumption. In recent studies the focus was on calculating the optimal eco-driving strategy, and measuring the exact amount of energy used during train runs. However, energy consumption is not the only key performance indicator that affects the operational performance of train or freight operating companies. In this study we define a set of key performance indicators, relevant to train operation, that are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related, and that are influenced by the driving strategy of the driver. These key performance indicators are safety, timeliness, energy consumption, workload of the driver, the environment, cost of maintenance and brand image. We chose four driving strategies that are most used in daily practice or most studied in the literature to assess these key performance indicators. Per key performance indicator we defined evaluation criteria to measure the impact of a driving strategy. We then defined key characteristics (e.g. track length, gradients), and conditions (e.g. speed restrictions, and load factor) based on which we defined test scenarios for three different train types. We then used the Radau Pseudospectral Method for solving the various optimal train control problems to compute the effect of the driving strategies on most of the key performance indicators. Our findings show amongst others, that a maximal coasting strategy causes the least environmental pollution, and in most scenarios its energy consumption coincided with the optimal energy-efficient train control strategy or it had an energy efficiency close to the optimal one. Furthermore, we found that on other key performance indicators there are differences between the driving strategies (e.g. in cost of maintenance), which should be considered when choosing a preferred driving strategy. Our results enable train and freight operating companies to make an informed decision when choosing a preferred driving strategy for their drivers, or when choosing a Driver Advisory System that supports this preferred driving strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100163
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Rail Transport Planning and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Key performance indicators
  • Optimal train control
  • Train driving strategies


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  • Energy-efficient Train Timetabling

    Scheepmaker, G. M., 2022, Trail / TU Delft. 250 p.

    Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

    Open Access
    204 Downloads (Pure)

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