Simulation-based Headway Optimization for a Subway Network: a Performance Comparison of Population-based Algorithms

Vienna’s population (like many cities all over the world) is growing. Urbanization and other contributing factors such as efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, pedestrianization, improving the resident’s quality of life, etc. increase demand and call for frequent re-evaluations whether provisions (i.e., tighter headways) are – now or in future – indispensable. Economic factors – namely, capital and operational expenditure (including infrastructure preservation and expansion) – are contrary to the goal of passenger satisfaction (i.e. service level). This project is dedicated to solve these conflicting goals by determining the optimal hourly headways for each line of the Viennese subway network. The subway network is only a part of the Viennese public transportation system, which includes 28 tram, 108 bus and 10 suburban railway lines. Due to the lack of data, different providers, the tram and bus lines being no competition in terms of capacity, no or limited synchronization between different types of transportation and the to expect issues when attempting to simulate not up to 5 but 151 lines, these are not considered.

We employ a simulation-based optimization approach, a concept that has already proven successful in similar application contexts. Also, evolutionary algorithms have already been applied to this kind of problem in a similar setting.


Passenger volume over time for subway transportation system optimization

Passenger volume over time for subway transportation system optimization

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