Journal of Heuristics

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 575–591 | Cite as

An evolutionary and constructive approach to a crew scheduling problem in underground passenger transport

  • Rafael Elizondo
  • Victor ParadaEmail author
  • Lorena Pradenas
  • Christian Artigues


Operations management of subway systems is associated with combinatorial optimization problems (i.e. crew and train scheduling and rostering) which belong to the np-hard class of problems. Therefore, they are generally solved heuristically in real situations. This paper considers the problem of duty generation, i.e. identifying an optimal trips set that the conductors should complete in one workday. With regard to operational and labor conditions, the problem is to use the lowest possible number of conductors and minimize total idle time between trips. The problem is modeled and solved using a constructive hybrid approach, which has the advantage of visualizing a solution construction similar to the manual approach typically used. Our approach takes advantage of the benefits offered by evolutionary methods, which store a candidate solutions population in each stage, thus controlling the combinatorial explosion of possible solutions. The results thus obtained for problems similar to those that are solved manually in the Santiago Metro System were compared with two alternative approaches, based on tabu search and a greedy method. The hybrid method produced solutions with the minimum number of duties in six of the ten problems solved. However, the tabu search method provided better results in terms of idle time than either the hybrid method or the greedy method.


Graph search methods Evolutionary algorithm Crew scheduling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Elizondo
    • 1
  • Victor Parada
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lorena Pradenas
    • 2
  • Christian Artigues
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Informatic EngineeringUniversity of Santiago of ChileEcuador Av. SantiagoChile
  2. 2.Departament of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  3. 3.LAASCNRSToulouseFrance

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