A Collection of Aspects Why Optimization Projects for Railway Companies Could Risk Not to Succeed - A Multi-Perspective Approach

Christian Liebchen
TH Wildau, Engineering and Natural Sciences, Wildau, Germany

Hanno Schülldorf
DB Analytics – Optimization, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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Ingår i: RailNorrköping 2019. 8th International Conference on Railway Operations Modelling and Analysis (ICROMA), Norrköping, Sweden, June 17th – 20th, 2019

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 69:49, s. 752-765

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Publicerad: 2019-09-13

ISBN: 978-91-7929-992-7

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


You might be aware of the following gap: There are by far more publications on promising projects on how mathematical optimization could improve the performance of railway companies, than true success stories in the sense that operations research methods really entered the practice of railways. In this paper, we shed a bit of light on those projects, which finally did not enter the practice of railways. We do so by conducting a survey in which we ask both, railway practitioners who served as ordering party, and optimization experts who served as R&D solution provider. We summarize and comment the most frequent replies to our question about the key factors why in the past mathematical optimization methods did not enter the practice of railways: expert capacity for validation, management attention, quality of input data, and “moving target” objectives. Hereby, we offer a knowledge base to future project managers. Acting accordingly with respect to definition of project goals, project design, and project management, hopefully lets them come up with even more true success stories of operations research methods in the practice of railways.


Railway Optimization, Operations Research, Project Management, Limiting Factors, Do’s and Don’t’s


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