Modelling issues on the railway resource management process using multi-agent system

Tsang, C.W. & Ho, T.K. (2004) Modelling issues on the railway resource management process using multi-agent system. In Proceedings of 27th Australasian Transport Research Forum, The Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC), Adelaide.

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Many infrastructure and necessity systems such as electricity and telecommunication in Europe and the Northern America were used to be operated as monopolies, if not state-owned. However, they have now been disintegrated into a group of smaller companies managed by different stakeholders. Railways are no exceptions. Since the early 1980s, there have been reforms in the shape of restructuring of the national railways in different parts of the world. Continuous refinements are still conducted to allow better utilisation of railway resources and quality of service. There has been a growing interest for the industry to understand the impacts of these reforms on the operation efficiency and constraints. A number of post-evaluations have been conducted by analysing the performance of the stakeholders on their profits (Crompton and Jupe 2003), quality of train service (Shaw 2001) and engineering operations (Watson 2001). Results from these studies are valuable for future improvement in the system, followed by a new cycle of post-evaluations. However, direct implementation of these changes is often costly and the consequences take a long period of time (e.g. years) to surface. With the advance of fast computing technologies, computer simulation is a cost-effective means to evaluate a hypothetical change in a system prior to actual implementation. For example, simulation suites have been developed to study a variety of traffic control strategies according to sophisticated models of train dynamics, traction and power systems (Goodman, Siu and Ho 1998, Ho and Yeung 2001). Unfortunately, under the restructured railway environment, it is by no means easy to model the complex behaviour of the stakeholders and the interactions between them. Multi-agent system (MAS) is a recently developed modelling technique which may be useful in assisting the railway industry to conduct simulations on the restructured railway system. In MAS, a real-world entity is modelled as a software agent that is autonomous, reactive to changes, able to initiate proactive actions and social communicative acts. It has been applied in the areas of supply-chain management processes (García-Flores, Wang and Goltz 2000, Jennings et al. 2000a, b) and e-commerce activities (Au, Ngai and Parameswaran 2003, Liu and You 2003), in which the objectives and behaviour of the buyers and sellers are captured by software agents. It is therefore beneficial to investigate the suitability or feasibility of applying agent modelling in railways and the extent to which it might help in developing better resource management strategies. This paper sets out to examine the benefits of using MAS to model the resource management process in railways. Section 2 first describes the business environment after the railway 2 Modelling issues on the railway resource management process using MAS reforms. Then the problems emerge from the restructuring process are identified in section 3. Section 4 describes the realisation of a MAS for railway resource management under the restructured scheme and the feasible studies expected from the model.

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ID Code: 38382
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Multi-agent system, Raiwlay transportation, Resource allocation
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > APPLIED MATHEMATICS (010200) > Operations Research (010206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND IMAGE PROCESSING (080100) > Adaptive Agents and Intelligent Robotics (080101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Transport Engineering (090507)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 07 Nov 2010 22:08
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 17:56

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