Evaluation of Terminal Capacity Models for Rail Freight Flow Analysis

UTK Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-UTK-R04
Project TitleEvaluation of Terminal Capacity Models for Rail Freight Flow Analysis
UniversityUniversity of Tennessee at Knoxville
Project ManagerClarke
Principal InvestigatorClarke, Jin
PI Contact InformationPhone: (865) 974-4625 Email: dclarke@utk.edu
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)
Total Project Cost$
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2012-07-01
End Date2014-01-31
Brief Description of Research ProjectUTK researchers have developed several rail freight network equilibrium assignment tools to help identify network bottlenecks and demonstrate the benefits of freight network improvement under various freight demand scenarios. One model, called RAILNET, solves a non-linear multi-commodity flow problem and
produces a profit maximizing pattern of flows that can closely replicate observed patterns. A tactical planning model that considers the optimum routing of car blocks within the network is under development. This model will be used for the identification of critical network assets. Both UTK codes explicitly consider line capacity in their solution algorithms. The codes use rail networks that include line capacity attributes, and capacity submodels use these attributes to predict delay as a function of volume . However, the network data does not contain any measures of terminal capacity, nor does either code include submodels to address terminal capacity, though the design provides for easy inclusion of such submodels. Thus, neither code currently considers terminal capacity in the solution, though it would clearly be desirable to do so. The objective of this research is to develop practical terminal capacity submodels for the existing assignment models. While line capacity has been studied extensively, there are no few, if any, macro level terminal capacity models. Most studies in the literature focus on simulation or analysis on a specific classification yard at the operational level. There has been, to date, relatively little research on the development of simple, yet realistic, yard and terminal submodels for incorporation into larger planning models. These submodels should provide terminal performance metrics as a function of traffic demand. In addition to the research, this project will incorporate the results in transportation engineering courses to demonstrate to students the importance of railways in freight movement and the need for future investment in the railway network to meet freight demand.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2012-UTK-R04_Jin_final_report.pdf