Requirement for, and Design of, an Operations Control System for Railways

  • Leena Suhl
  • Taïeb Mellouli
Part of the Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems book series (LNE, volume 471)


In this paper, we discuss computer-based systems that support operations control for railways. Specifically, we focus on the design of decision support tools for dispatchers. We have studied requirements of systems supporting operations control processes from the expert/user point of view for the German railway, “Deutsche Bahn AG.” The main goal is to help dispatchers ensure passenger traffic with the best possible quality in a dense network with more than 30,000 trips daily. We suggest that such a computer-based system must support the dispatcher in recognizing forthcoming conflicts as early as possible, rescheduling of passenger connections taking into account customers’ acceptance and cost, and reallocating vehicles/crews in a convenient way.

We represent a knowledge-based, object-oriented system architecture that includes components for information management, simulation, and optimization. Besides the scheduled state of a transportation system, our model also covers the actual (until now) and expected (in the future) states. The decision support system automatically recognizes conflict situations, such as missed passenger connections due to trains being delayed. What-if analyses can be performed to support the estimation of network-wide effects of a dispatcher’s decision. Expert’s knowledge rating possible decisions may be formalized and stored in the system to help in generating later decision proposals. Remote Java-based clients provide service point employees and passengers with station overviews and alternative connections based on the actual state of the network. Vehicle rescheduling is currently in progress.


Decision Support Tool Conflict Situation Schedule State Operation Control Crew Schedule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leena Suhl
    • 1
  • Taïeb Mellouli
    • 1
  1. 1.Decision Support & OR Laboratory, Department of Business ComputingUniversity of PaderbornGermany

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