Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 246, Issue 1–2, pp 145–166 | Cite as

A short-turning policy for the management of demand disruptions in rapid transit systems

  • David Canca
  • Eva Barrena
  • Gilbert Laporte
  • Francisco A. OrtegaEmail author


Rapid transit systems timetables are commonly designed to accommodate passenger demand in sections with the highest passenger load. However, disruptions frequently arise due to an increase in the demand, infrastructure incidences or as a consequence of fleet size reductions. All these circumstances give rise to unsupplied demand at certain stations, which generates passenger overloads in the available vehicles. The design of strategies that guarantee reasonable user waiting time with small increases of operation costs is now an important research topic. This paper proposes a tactical approach to determine optimal policies for dealing with such situations. Concretely, a short-turning strategy is analysed, where some vehicles perform short cycles in order to increase the frequency among certain stations of the lines and to equilibrate the train occupancy level. Turn-back points should be located and service offset should be determined with the objective of diminishing the passenger waiting time while preserving certain level of quality of service. Computational results and analysis for a real case study are provided.


Railways Timetabling Short-turning Disruptions 



This research work was partially supported by the Excellence program of the Andalusian Government, under grant P09-TEP-5022, and by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under grant 39682-10. We are also grateful to RENFE (Madrid commuter railway system operator) for providing data and information relevant to the calibration of the model. Thanks are due to the referees for their valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Canca
    • 1
  • Eva Barrena
    • 2
  • Gilbert Laporte
    • 2
  • Francisco A. Ortega
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Industrial Engineering and Management Science I, School of EngineeringUniversity of SevilleSevilleSpain
  2. 2.Interuniversity Research Center on Network Enterprise, Logistics and Transportation (CIRRELT) and HEC MontréalMontréalCanada
  3. 3.Department of Applied Mathematics I, School of ArchitectureUniversity of SevilleSevilleSpain

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