Prof. Dr. Ulrich Weidmann | Transport Systems

Stability of railway networks and their expansion dynamics during major disruptions


Numerous disruption incidents can affect the operation of public transportation systems so much that (large) parts of the network can no longer be served. In addition to natural events, technical or social hazards can also threaten the stability of public transportation networks. The high network load as well as increasing automation and decentralisation of the control and communication systems and safety compound these vulnerabilities. Therefore, from both the customers’ and the operator’s standpoint, as well as the economic, it is desirable to reduce vulnerability to disruption.

Methods / Goals
The dissertation examines the effects of disruption events on the operation of selected transportation networks, such as the Zurich tram system or the Swiss standard gauge railway network. An analysis technique for the modelling of the effects of disruptions was implemented in ‘R’, which represents the subsystems of infrastructure, operation, control, safety, and energy supply and measures the effects of disruptions on the planned operating conditions. This should advance the understanding of the complex interaction between the subsystems and reveal critical network elements or subsections. Moreover, the outcome can also be estimated from the disruptions on operational characteristics, such as the number of deployed vehicles.