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Keywords:

  • timetable information system;
  • multi-criteria optimization;
  • night trains;
  • computational study

Abstract

The search for attractive night train connections is fundamentally different from ordinary search: the primary objective of a customer of a night train is to have a reasonably long sleeping period without interruptions due to train changes. For most passengers it is also undesirable to reach the final destination too early in the morning. These objectives are in sharp contrast to standard information systems which focus on minimizing the total travel time. In this article, we present and compare two new approaches to support queries for night train connections. These approaches have been integrated into the Multi-Objective Traffic Information System (MOTIS), which is currently being developed by our group. Its purpose is to find all train connections which are attractive from a customer point of view. Using a computational study, we demonstrate that our specialized algorithms for night train connections are able to satisfy customer queries much better than standard methods. This can be achieved with reasonable computational costs: a specialized night train search requires only a few seconds of CPU time. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. NETWORKS, 2011