|New Jersey Chapter
- Thursday May 2, 2013
- Room 169, RUTCOR Building
- Busch Campus, Rutgers University
- 6:00-6:30 Mixer
- 6:30-7:30 Dinner
- 7:30-9:00 Presentation
Crew Roster Algorithm for Commuter Passenger Rail Operators
Marc Meketon, David Hunt and Alexander Shatov
has been designing and building software and operations research
models since 1980, most of that time devoted to airline and railway
transportation. He is a Vice President at Oliver Wyman, a strategic
consulting firm, in their railway practice. He has also managed
operations research groups at an airline, a large railway, at Bell
Laboratories, and is a long-time adjunct professor at Villanova
University. He holds a PhD in Operations Research from Cornell
also with Oliver Wyman, specializes in modeling transportation
systems to assist decision making for policy, strategic planning
and operational improvements. Most of his work involves railroads,
and he has been fortunate to work with many of the largest rail
systems in the world. He is the past Chair of the New Jersey Chapter
of INFORMS, organizer of the NJ Chapter Student Contest, and a
member of the national INFORMS Subdivision Council. David holds
an MSE in Operations Research and Civil Engineering from Princeton
currently a Lead Software Engineer at Oliver Wyman, specializes in
modeling and software development of freight and passenger
transportation systems for strategic planning and operational
improvements of railroads. Alexander holds a PhD in Solid State
Physics from Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences.
Crews are one of the largest expenses incurred by any transportation
company, and therefore an area that receives much attention. Optimizing
crew assignments becomes complex, and interesting, when trying to match
crews to service schedules and when multiple crews members are needed
for each trip, as is the case in both airlines and railroads. The
computational requirements grow rapidly as the number of trains operated
per day increases and as the planning horizon increases, which generally
forces the problem to be solved in steps and forces the use of geographical
partitions. The crew assignment problem also has to consider several real
world constraints imposed by the Federal government and by the unions to
protect crew and passenger safety and to provide for fair and balanced
The crew assignment problem at a commuter railway, such as SEPTA or NJ
Transit, typically involves three steps:
Our presentation will address all three steps, but will primarily focus on
step 2, creating weekly rosters. We will draw examples from our work with
a local commuter railroad.
- 1. Develop daily crew jobs: Establishes sequences of train-route
segments and other moves between locations that a crew takes over the
course of a single day. The crew must start and stop at the same location,
follow multiple government and union rules such as limiting the total time,
the work time, and breaks for meals.
- 2. Develop a weekly roster: Create a weekly set of crew jobs (called
a roster), with one or two-consecutive days off, that cover all the crew
jobs, has each job starting about the same time of day, allows for the
required rest period between jobs, and follows other fixed and flexible
- 3. Bid out the rosters: This is the process of assigning rosters to
individuals. The assignments could be as simple as a strict seniority
bidding, or could be more complex with individuals stating preferences and
an algorithm determining the assignments.
Mixer and dinner (alter among pizza, Chinese, ... from meeting to meeting)
cost is $10.00 ($3.00 for students) to be paid at the door. Note also
that 2013 chapter dues of $10 for INFORMS National Member or $11 for
Non-member may be paid at the door. Student or retiree dues: $3.00.
Attendance at the lecture will be for NJ and NY Metro INFORMS members
only. NJ Chapter membership forms will be available at the door.
Visit NJ INFORMS Chapter home page at
Driving Directions to RUTCOR, Busch Campus, Rutgers
- From Route 1 and Turnpike:
- Get on Route 18 West/North and follow directions below.
- From Route 18:
- 1. Follow Route 18 North (or West - signs differ, mean the same) to
New Brunswick area.
- 2. Follow Route 18 North along river over big bridge across river
and take exit for Busch Campus.
- 3. Bear right at the traffic circle onto Bartholomew Road.
- 4. Turn left at the first stop sign onto Brett Road.
- 5. Follow Brett Road to the end, bear left into furthest parking lot (lot #64).
- 6. Follow cement walk past the Winlab modular building to the RUTCOR modular
building set back in the woods.
- From Route 287 North:
- 1. Take Exit 9 (formerly Exit 5, Bound Brook / Highland Park).
- 2. Turn left from off ramp (towards Highland Park).
- 3. Follow River Road (approx. 4 miles) to the 6th light.
- 4. Make a left onto Route 18 north.
- 5. Take the first, Busch Campus, exit.
- 6. Bear right at the traffic circle onto Bartholomew Road.
- 7. Turn left at the first stop sign onto Brett Road.
- 8. Follow Brett Road to the end, bear left into furthest parking lot (lot #64).
- 9. Follow cement walk past the Winlab modular building to the RUTCOR modular
building set back in the woods.
- From Route 287 South:
- Take Exit 9 (formerly Exit 5, Bound Brook / Highland Park).
- Bear right and follow above directions.