Methods for Capacity Allocation in Deregulated Railway Markets

Abstract: Faced with increasing challenges, railways around Europe have recently undergone major reforms aiming to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the railway sector. New market structures such as vertical separation, deregulation and open access can allow for reduced public expenditures, increased market competition, and more efficient railway systems.However, these structures have introduced new challenges for managing infrastructure and operations. Railway capacity allocation, previously internally performed within monopolistic national companies, are now conferred to an infrastructure manager (IM). The IM is responsible for transparent and efficient allocation of available capacity to the different (often competing) licensed railway undertakings (RUs).This thesis aims at developing a number of methods that can help allocate capacity in a deregulated (vertically separated) railway market. It focuses on efficiency in terms of social welfare, and transparency in terms of clarity and fairness. The work is concerned with successive allocation of capacity for publicly controlled and commercial traffic within a segmented railway market.The contributions include cost benefit analysis (CBA) methods that allow public transport authorities (PTAs) to assess the social welfare of their traffic, and create efficient schedules. The thesis also describes a market-based transparent capacity allocation where IMs price commercial train paths to solve capacity conflicts with publicly controlled traffic. Additionally, solution methods are developed to help estimate passenger demand, which is a necessary input both for resolving conflicts, and for creating efficient timetables.Future capacity allocation in deregulated markets may include solution methods from this thesis. However, further experimentations are still required to address concerns such as data, legislation and acceptability. Moreover, future works can include prototyping and pilot projects on the proposed solutions, and investigating legal and digitalisation strategies to facilitate the implementation of such solutions.

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