The multi-objective railway timetable rescheduling problem

Stefan Binder*, Yousef Maknoon, Michel Bierlaire

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Unexpected disruptions occur for many reasons in railway networks and cause delays, cancelations, and, eventually, passenger inconvenience. This research focuses on the railway timetable rescheduling problem from a macroscopic point of view in case of large disruptions. The originality of our approach is to integrate three objectives to generate a disposition timetable: the passenger satisfaction, the operational costs and the deviation from the undisrupted timetable. We formulate the problem as an Integer Linear Program that optimizes the first objective and includes ε-constraints for the two other ones. By solving the problem for different values of ε, the three-dimensional Pareto frontier can be explored to understand the trade-offs among the three objectives. The model includes measures such as canceling, delaying or rerouting the trains of the undisrupted timetable, as well as scheduling emergency trains. Furthermore, passenger flows are adapted dynamically to the new timetable. Computational experiments are performed on a realistic case study based on a heavily used part of the Dutch railway network. The model is able to find optimal solutions in reasonable computational times. The results provide evidence that adopting a demand-oriented approach for the management of disruptions not only is possible, but may lead to significant improvement in passenger satisfaction, associated with a low operational cost of the disposition timetable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-94
JournalTransportation Research. Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Integer linear program
  • Multi-objective
  • Pareto frontier
  • Passenger satisfaction
  • Railway timetable rescheduling


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