WIT Press

A Decision Support System For Railway Timetabling (MOM): The Spanish Case


Free (open access)








1,742 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


F. Barber, P. Tormos, A. Lova, L. Ingolotti, M. A. Salido & M. Abril


Train timetabling is a difficult and time-consuming task, given the complexity and number of constraints to be taken into account. A feasible train timetable should specify the departure and arrival time of each train to each location of its journey so that the line capacity and other operational constraints are met. Traditionally, train timetables have been generated manually by drawing trains on the time-distance diagram, where train schedules are manually adjusted so that all constraints are fulfilled. This process can take a long time and it usually stops once a feasible timetable is found. The difficulty of the process increases in complex and high-loaded networks and the resulting timetabling may be far from optimal. In this work, we present MOM: a friendly, flexible, computer-based Decision Support System (DSS) whose main goal is to support the railway planner to efficiently obtain optimized train timetables. The system generates feasible and high quality timetables by considering the set of constraints of the problem and optimization criteria related to the use of railway infrastructures and operator requirements. The railway planner can obtain several solutions automatically, by modifying certain parameters (departure interval, frequencies, among others). Hence, the user can analyze them and take decisions about conditions related to railway traffic and infrastructure. Furthermore, an important feature of the DSS is the consideration of hard and soft constraints which makes the search process more flexible and reaches better solutions. The developed DSS offers assistance in train scheduling, conclusions about the maximum capacity of the network, identifying bottlenecks, determining the consequences of changes, providing support in the resolution of incidents, and alternative planning in on-line scheduling for real traffic control. This DSS software is being successfully used by the Spanish Manager of Railway Infrastructure (ADIF). Keywords: Decision Support System, train timetabling, railway capacity, on-line scheduling.


Decision Support System, train timetabling, railway capacity, on-line scheduling.