MINECO-Collaboration Challenges 2017

A bid to boost transport efficiency

 

Issues regarding stations infrastructure

Goal Systems, acting as a coordinator, and the Planning and Learning Group, PLG, from the University Carlos III of Madrid, acting as partner, were awarded an aid to finance the implementation of the “GoalHUB project: An automatic and optimised planning software that ensures an efficient operation of the trains traffic capacity in highly congested stations.”
Such aid was granted by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation on the State Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation Program 2013-2016, Challenges-Collaboration Call of the State Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation Program geared to social challenges.

The increase in mobility demand within the railway sector makes railway transport operators call for more power to increment their services and to increase the number of trips they offer. The major issue that hinders an increase of services is the high congestion in some high traffic stations. The solution would be therefore to use stations infrastructure in a more efficient way in order to manage all circulating trains.

A station’s capacity is measured by the number of trains that use the facilities per hour. An increase in the offered capacity per station, without building new tracks or stations, would be possible if the existing infrastructure was used in the most efficient way, ensuring trains security levels. Such need is identified at a global scale and in the whole rail transport system.

Data and comments received from the infrastructure management bodies foresee that, in many European and North American networks, collapses will inevitably happen in important stations and strategic nodes and that, due to economic restrictions, they will not be resolved in new infrastructures. An optimal use of existing networks and infrastructures is the right short and medium-term solution. The GoalHUB tool intended to be developed under this project, abiding by the utmost security, will ensure the optimal operation of several infrastructures before reaching congestion situations.

The complexity of the problem arises from the topology of the stations network, railway transport regulations and other services to be considered. Regarding the topology of a station network, it can be very ravelled due to different types of track sections: train circulation, change of direction, secondary stretches such as platforms and maintenance facilities; switches and traffic lights that control the traffic.

This project aims at developing an automatic and optimised planning software that ensures an efficient operation of the trains traffic capacity in highly congested stations. The tool will be responsible for finding a nearly 100 per cent optimisation of the offered capacity per station, taking into account the complexity involved in the topology of the stations network, railway transport regulations and other services to be considered.

Thematic objective of the operational programme:
Promote technological development, innovation and high-quality research