Improvement of departure time suitability for interregional rail timetables

Time: Fri 2020-05-15 10.00

Location: Via Zoom -, Du som saknar dator/datorvana kan kontakta för information / Use the e-mail address if you need technical assistance, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Transport Science, Transport Systems

Doctoral student: Félix Vautard , Transportplanering, Järnvägsgruppen, JVG, The KTH Railway Group

Opponent: Associate Professor Henrik Andersson, Toulouse School of Economics

Supervisor: Associate Professor Oskar Fröidh, Transportplanering, Järnvägsgruppen, JVG; PhD Chengxi Liu, VTI, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute; PhD Camilla Byström, Systemanalys och ekonomi


In order to respond to growing interregional rail traffic, rail capacity should be allocated better. To achieve this, one possibility is to optimise suitability of departure times for rail passengers in the timetabling process. The suitability of departure and arrival times refers to how well the timetable can diminish constraints on passengers that must adapt their activities to train schedules. However, current knowledge on this issue is limited. Indeed, only few studies have quantified how passengers valuate departure time suitability. These studies are also quite brief in their coverage of the influence of travellers’ profiles on these valuations. In addition, current methods comparing the socioeconomic consequences of different timetables are not applicable in all contexts, and most of them rely on strong simplifications. In summary, this thesis aims to answer the following research questions:

  1. What are the determinants for passenger valuations of departure time suitability?
  2. How to improve the welfare assessment of departure time shifts in interregional timetables?

In paper 1, I focus on the first research question. To this end, we present a new study in which we estimate new valuations of departure time suitability. To achieve this, we conducted a stated-preference survey on several Swedish rail lines. We present the design of the survey and its result in the paper. With this work, I aim to fulfil two objectives: first, to provide figures to improve inputs for travel demand forecast models and socioeconomic assessments. Second, to determine the influence of trip characteristics and traveller’s socioeconomic profile on their valuations.

In paper 2, I focus on the second research question. To this end, we present a method that enables calculating changes in welfare due to departure time shifts in any interregional timetable. In this method, we bridge schedule-based model forecasts with cost-benefit analysis framework. This enables a better approximation of consumer and producer surplus than in previous literature. In addition, we show the applicability and potential of our method on a case study covering a Swedish interregional line.