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TitleSimulation-based optimisation of public transport networks
AuthorNnene, Obiora Amamifechukwu
SubjectSimulation-based optimisation
Subjecttransit network design
Subjectmulti-objective optimisation
Subjectagent-based simulation
TypeDoctoral Thesis
AbstractPublic transport network design deals with finding the most efficient network solution among a set of alternatives, that best satisfies the often-conflicting objectives of different network stakeholders like passengers and operators. Simulation-based Optimisation (SBO) is a discipline that solves optimisation problems by combining simulation and optimisation models. The former is used to evaluate the alternative solutions, while the latter searches for the optimal solution among them. A SBO model for designing public transport networks is developed in this dissertation. The context of the research is the MyCiTi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network in the City of Cape Town, South Africa. A multi-objective optimisation algorithm known as the Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm (NSGA-II) is integrated with Activity-based Travel Demand Model (ABTDM) known as the Multi-Agent Transport Simulation (MATSim). The steps taken to achieve the research objectives are first to generate a set of feasible network alternatives. This is achieved by manipulating the existing routes of the MyCiTi BRT with a computer based heuristic algorithm. The process is guided by feasibility conditions which guarantee that each network has routes that are acceptable for public transport operations. MATSim is then used to evaluate the generated alternatives, by simulating the daily plans of travellers on each network. A typical daily plan is a sequential ordering of all the trips made by a commuter within a day. Automated Fare Collection (AFC) data from the MyCiTi BRT was used to create this plan. Lastly, the NSGA-II is used to search for an efficient set of network solutions, also known as a Pareto set or a non-dominated set in the context of Multi-objective Optimisation (MOO). In each generation of the optimisation process, MATSim is used to evaluate the current solution. Hence a suitable encoding scheme is defined to enable a smooth iv translation of the solution between the NSGA-II and MATSim. Since the solution of multi-objective optimisation problems is a set of network solutions, further analysis is done to identify the best compromise solution in the Pareto set. Extensive computational testing of the SBO model has been carried out. The tests involve evaluating the computational performance of the model. The first test measures the repeatability of the model"s result. The second computational test considers its performance relative to indicators like the hypervolume and spacing indicators as well as an analysis of the model"s Pareto front. Lastly, a benchmarking of the model"s performance when compared with other optimisation algorithms is carried out. After testing the so-called Simulation-based Transit Network Design Model (SBTNDM), it is then used to design pubic transport networks for the MyCiTi BRT. Two applications are considered for the model. The first application deals with the public transport performance of the network solutions in the Pareto front obtained from the SBTNDM. In this case study, different transport network indicators are used to measure how each solution performs. In the second scenario, network design is done for the 85th percentile of travel demand on the MyCiTi network over 12 months. The results show that the model can design robust transit networks. The use of simulation as the agency of optimisation of public transport networks represents the main innovation of the work. The approach has not been used for public transport network design to date. The specific contribution of this work is in the improved modelling of public transport user behaviour with Agent-based Simulation (ABS) within a Transit Network Design (TND) framework. This is different from the conventional approaches used in the literature, where static trip-based travel demand models like the four-step model have mostly been used. Another contribution of the work is the development of a robust technique that facilitates the simultaneous optimisation of network routes and their operational frequencies. Future endeavours will focus on extending the network design model to a multi-modal context.
PublisherEngineering and the Built Environment
PublisherDepartment of Civil Engineering