Scheduling Inland Waterway Transport Vessels and Locks Using a Switching Max-Plus-Linear Systems Approach

Pablo Segovia*, Mike Pesselse, Ton Van Den Boom, Vasso Reppa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This paper considers the inland waterborne transport (IWT) problem, and presents a scheduling approach for inland vessels and locks to generate optimal vessel and lock timetables. The scheduling strategy is designed in the switching max-plus-linear (SMPL) systems framework, as these are characterized by a number of features that make them well suited to represent the IWT problem. In particular, the resulting model is linear in the max-plus algebra, and SMPL systems can switch between modes, an interesting feature due to the presence of vessel routing and ordering constraints in the model. Moreover, SMPL systems can be transformed into mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) problems, for which efficient solvers are available. Finally, a realistic case study is used to test the approach and assess its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-762
JournalIEEE Open Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Inland waterborne transport
  • intelligent transportation systems
  • max-plus algebra
  • scheduling
  • switching max-plus-linear systems
  • vessel-to-infrastructure interaction

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