Network Design for SBB Cargo

This project aims at developing an algorithm for the overall design of Swiss Federal Railways cargo’s network of bundling points.

SBB Cargo operates a network of 2 marshaling yards, 65 shunting yards and about 350 of small bundling points. The operation as such is costly and the network might contain redundant bundling points.

The overall interest of SBB Cargo is to minimize the operating cost of their network and to compare its performance to a better network, completely designed from scratch. The resulting framework is then planned to be used to improve the current network of SBB cargo and its future development.

The main research challenge of this project is to incorporate the SBB Cargo needs into one model while taking into account the specifics of the railway network and its operation. The researchers from the Transport and Mobility Laboratory (TRANSP-OR) will develop a heuristic algorithm that gives as an output a complete network design based on the inputs (cargo demand, capacity, types and costs of different bundling points). The algorithm can be further adjusted by entering the already existing bundling points. The effectiveness of the proposed algorithm will be tested thorough comparison with existing solutions.

TRANSP-OR, led by professor Michel Bierlaire, has a track record of successful projects of solving highly complex problems arising in industrial sector. This one-year project is sponsored by Swiss Federal Railways.

Principal investigator Prof. Michel Bierlaire
Project manager Virginie Lurkin
Period 2017-2018
Laboratory TRANSP-OR
Collaboration TRACE