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Developing a methodology for train free period clustering using an opportunity-based methodology

Commadeur, Thom (2017) Developing a methodology for train free period clustering using an opportunity-based methodology.

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Abstract:Clustering of train free periods (TVPs) has become more important in recent years as the number of possession requests grew and the capacity for possessions is limited. Currently, TVP clustering is performed on a loose basis and no process or technical support is provided. This research aims to provide a solution to the question how clustering of TVPs can be improved in order to decrease infrastructure unavailability. Problems related to clustering are identified and a clustering methodology is developed wherein evaluations and a new process are integrated. TVPs are requested using Functional Extraction Drawings (FOTs), a drawing wherein duration of TVP and a schematic view of tracks is given. This drawing is made by Project Managers and shows which tracks are required in a TVP. A methodology is developed to assess the impact of a project within a TVP as it is unknown wherein a FOT work is performed and location relation between FOTs is important. Development started by determining what the main activities are that ProRail performs in a TVP. A list of twenty project activities has been determined and assessed using five criteria influencing TVP clustering. These five criteria are logistics of maintenance vehicles, interference during execution, movement of project, space occupation and importance to primary function. Each project activity is scored one to five and sum of these scores results in a final score of each project activity. The acquired scores are used to assess the combination of different TVPs. Three factors influencing the inbetween relationship between TVPs are used to determine a score which dictates the ability to cluster. These three factors are number of tracks, TVP duration and geography. Each factor has three options wherefrom must be chosen based on the information in FOTs. The factors are used to generate a final score of clustering between TVPs and based on that score an advice is given. That advice ranges from do not cluster to easy clustering as it is not possible to give a strict yes or no result as it remains to be an approximation. A cluster of TVPs will then form a possession. An Excel tool is developed wherein the two evaluations are incorporated to improve the usability of the evaluations. ProRail currently develops a new possession management system called BTD-planner wherein TVP clustering could play a large role. Therefore, preconditions are defined which must be met by the software to take full potential of clustering. Most important part is the distinction between work shell and safety shell which is currently missing and is necessary to be known. This results in a yes or no methodology and is more reliable to predict clustering than the opportunity-based methodology. The methodology is applied on real data and compared with the realized possession planning for 2017. The case-study area is the triangle Utrecht – Leiden – Rotterdam and all track sections within and opportunities for improving clustering were found. On some corridor parts the result was the same as for 2017, meaning the possession planners performed good on clustering and on some corridors a reduction was possible. Leiden – Den Haag for example showed a reduction of 60% in total possession duration. In total for the entire case-study duration decreased from 2945 hours to 2144 hours, a 27% reduction. The number of possessions decreased from 49 to 28, a 43% reduction. Costs and benefits of postponing or advancing TVPs are identified when the total number of possessions is reduced on a corridor part. Advancement costs extra as end-of-life of an asset is not reached and value deficit is made. Such costs are not present when postponing as end-of-life is reached and through daily maintenance quality of asset is guaranteed. Benefits are for travellers less hinder due to less possessions on a corridor part. Clustering of TVPs requires a new process as it was not properly embedded into the current possession planning process. Therefore, an addition to the current process is developed wherein clustering of TVP is captured and integrated. When clustering should be performed, how it should be done and how the result will help creating a better possession planning. ProRail should implement the proposed methodology to structure the clustering process and improve the clustering. Furthermore, additional software should be developed that improve clustering and can assess hundreds of TVPs automatically without human assistance.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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