How to efficiently allocate railway capacity

What is the best way to handle the conflicts that can appear in allocation of railway capacity after market deregulation? This is a question that Abderrahman Ait Ali has sought out to answer in his dissertation Methods for Capacity Allocation in Deregulated Railway Markets.

Abderrahman Ait Ali at a railway station

For a long time, Sweden along with many other countries had railways operating under a national monopoly with regards to passenger as well as freight traffic. In the end of the 20:th century, challenges in form of efficiency and cost problems were rising, and because of this the railway monopoly was reformed so that infrastructure management was separated from the operative train service. This separation opened up the railway as a new market where new entrants are allowed to compete, a procedure known as deregulation. 

By deregulating their railways, governments aim to reduce public expenditures, increase service quality, and improve system efficiency. For this to succeed, there is still need for instruments to intervene. An important element in this context is the allocation of railway capacity.

–The previously closed internal capacity allocation, within monopolistic national railway companies, needs to be replaced with a more transparent allocation of available capacity to the different (often competing) companies in the market.. This has to be done without decreasing efficiency. This task is the main problem that I attempt to address in my thesis, says Abderrahman Ait Ali (or Abdou, as he is called).

Abdou is a PhD student in Infra Informatics within the Division of Communications and Transport Systems (KTS), Department of Science and Technology (ITN). He is also a research assistant at The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). The public disputation will be held online on Monday November 16:th at 13:15.

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