Smart Algorithms to Increase Rail Capacity in Congested Areas

Railway has always been an effective mode to transport both people and goods. Freight trains are about four times more fuel efficient than trucks and passenger trains and are popular because of their blend of efficiency, speed and low emissions. Increasing rail network capacity, however, can be difficult and expensive. Finding more efficient ways to utilize existing rail network capacity can mitigate the impacts of growing freight demand. 

New communication technologies, such as Positive Train Control (PTC), have the potential to improve efficiency and minimize delays in freight and passenger railway operations. PTC enables trains to communicate and share critical information such as speed and location with each other in real time. This research brief highlights findings from the project, "Integrated Management of Truck and Rail Systems in Los Angeles," which simulated the complex, busy freight and passenger rail corridor between downtown Los Angeles and Pomona to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed new scheduling and dispatching algorithms using PTC.