Cost-Efficiency In Regional Commuter Train Traffic

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: Public transport and health care constitute the top two priorities for regional authorities in Sweden. Being cost-efficient in the execution of these services is important, not only to lower the costs but also to reach maximum social benefits for the available funding. In sectors like these, where the value of what is produced is not solely measured through the consumers’ willingness to pay, maximising cost-efficiency proves to be challenging. Therefore this thesis aims to take a holistic approach towards the understanding of how the provider of regional public transportation can improve the service quality of a commuter train system. Based on the consumers’ and customers’ perception of service quality the study investigates what part of a commuter train system that a regional train authority should focus on, in order to find maximum performance to minimum cost. One of the main findings concerns, that while the operation of the trains is the most costly part of the train system, the balance between high maintenance capability and the fleet-size has the highest potential for improvement. At least from the regional authority’s perspective. The study contributes with a mathematical model, which uses a backorder cost for each vehicle that the maintenance organisation fails to put in traffic when its needed. A heuristic algorithm that minimises the expected value of the objective function given a specified domain, containing different support organisations, proved to be useful in the case study. Furthermore, the case-study shows the importance of having an effective maintenance organisation performing most of the maintenance outside of peak-traffic. Having spare trains proves to be a costly way to uphold the desired level of traffic.

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