Railways are a well-recognized sustainable transportation mode that helps to satisfy the continuously growing mobility demand. However, the management of railway traffic in large-scale networks is a challenging task, especially when both a major disruption and various disturbances occur simultaneously. We propose an automatic rescheduling algorithm for real-time control of railway traffic that aims at minimizing the delays induced by the disruption and disturbances, as well as the resulting cancellations of train runs and turn-backs (or short-turns) and shuntings of trains in stations. The real-time control is based on the Model Predictive Control (MPC) scheme where the rescheduling problem is solved by mixed integer linear programming using macroscopic and mesoscopic models. The proposed resolution algorithm combines a distributed optimization method and bi-level heuristics to provide feasible control actions for the whole network in short computation time, without neglecting physical limitations nor operations at disrupted stations. A realistic simulation test is performed on the complete Dutch railway network. The results highlight the effectiveness of the method in properly minimizing the delays and rapidly providing feasible feedback control actions for the whole network. Note to Practitioners-This article aims at contributing to the enhancement of the core functionalities of Automatic Train Control (ATC) systems and, in particular, of the Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) module, which is included in ATC systems. In general, the ATS module allows to automate the train traffic supervision and consequently the rescheduling of the railway traffic in case of unexpected events. However, the implementation of an efficient rescheduling technique that automatically and rapidly provides the control actions necessary to restore the railway traffic operations to the nominal schedule is still an open issue. Most literature contributions fail in providing rescheduling methods that successfully determine high-quality solutions in less than one minute and include real-time information regarding the large-scale railway system state. This research proposes a semi-heuristic control algorithm based on MPC that, on the one hand, overcomes the limitations of manual rescheduling (i.e., suboptimal, stressful, and delayed decisions) and, on the other hand, offers the advantages of online and closed-loop control of railway traffic based on continuous monitoring of the traffic state to rapidly restore railway traffic operations to the nominal schedule. The semi-heuristic procedure permits to significantly reduce the computation time necessary to solve the rescheduling problem compared with an exact procedure; moreover, the use of a distributed optimization approach permits the application of the algorithm to large instances of the rescheduling problem, and the inclusion of both the traffic and rolling stock constraints related to the disrupted area. The method is tested on a realistic simulation environment, thus still requires further refinements for the integration into a real ATS system. Further developments will also consider the occurrence of various simultaneous disruptions in the network.
Cavone, G., van den Boom, T., Blenkers, L., Dotoli, M., Seatzu, C., De Schutter, B. (2022). An MPC-Based Rescheduling Algorithm for Disruptions and Disturbances in Large-Scale Railway Networks. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, 19(1), 99-112 [10.1109/tase.2020.3040940].