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Optimisation of infrastructure utilisation by market mechanisms

Grafische Darstellung verschiedener Zugtrassen

The goal of Project Trassenbörse is to develop an improved market organization for railway traffic, allowing for more efficient use of the existing infrastructure. The focus is on slot auction designs to allocate train paths in a timetable, regarding the railway undertakings’ willingness to pay for a certain slot. In each round of the auction process, those bids for slots are selected, which in combination yield the maximum of track access charges.

This anticipates mathematical modelling and optimization of railway traffic. Appropriate models and their computer representations have to be defined. Infrastructure data has to be aggregated from a microscopic to a macroscopic  level, which is called micro-macro-transformation and is done by software developed in the project. Also, dedicated optimization software has to be developed and tested. Auction experiments are carried out with human players, and also simulation runs of auctions are done. Extensive data on infrastructure, train characteristics and traffic demand has to be collected and refined for test runs to give realistic scenarios.