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.
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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|Item Type:||Conference Paper|
|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:||08 Nov 2010 08:08|
|Last Modified:||11 Aug 2011 03:56|
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