AAU explores the optimisation of goods traffic
The 8400 staff of Rail Cargo Austria move more than 100 million tons of goods every year. Some 620 traction units and 21,500 wagons are used for freight transport alone. With complex logistics tasks of such magnitude, the use of man and machine must be well planned. In a project promoted by FFG, mathematicians are now working on algorithms that are expected to bring about a significant improvement of planning.
"The pressure on freight cargo is growing. The resources that are available are becoming scarcer, budgets are becoming tighter and customers expect on-time provision of the promised service ", says Philipp Hungerländer from the Department for Mathematics. Add to this the negative impact detours have on the ecological footprint. Planning is complex, and in many cases the theoretical processes differ widely from their practical implementation. Philipp Hungerländer identifies a great need for research and huge potential for optimisation in this field: "Austrian rail cargo is in very much the same situation as other international logistics and transport companies."
The focus of the current project on "Intelligent, agent-based simulation of traction unit round trips and optimisation in Austrian rail cargo" is on the development of a "train delay prediction system". This project calculates route capacities using the wealth of rail cargo data that is available. Starting from that, the team – comprised of researchers and software developers of dwh GmbH, Klagenfurt University, Vienna University of Technology, Hex GmbH and Rail Cargo Austria AG – is planning to develop special optimisation algorithms for traction unit tours and route planning that are tailored to the specific needs. The new planning tool will then be tested in simulations. Philipp Hungerländer on the project target: "We want to develop optimisation algorithms that facilitate automated, fast, efficient and robust traction unit turnaround time and route planning of Austrian freight traffic." The results are expected for mid 2020.
For more information please contact:
Assoz.-Prof. DDr. Philipp Hungerländer
+43 463 2700 3117