Modeling Intermodality to Improve Rural Accessibility

Invited abstract in session TD-5: Multimodal transportation, stream Traffic, Mobility and Passenger Transportation.

Thursday, 14:15-15:30
Room: POT/112/H

Authors (first author is the speaker)

1. Laura Frank
Chair of Operations Management, RWTH Aachen University
2. Nicolas Dirks
School of Business and Economics, Chair of Operations Management, RWTH Aachen University
3. Grit Walther
School of Business and Economics, Chair of Operations Management, RWTH Aachen University


In rural areas, low population density and long travel distances provide major challenges for the public transportation system. As a result, public transportation in rural area is often characterized by low accessibility as well as long waiting and travel times despite high efforts and costs. In order to improve rural transportation systems, public decision makers intent to implement alternative on-demand mobility modes. Herein, new intermodal travel itineraries with transfers at mobility hubs may enable faster public connections and thereby strengthen public transportation. Due to the high inherent complexity of intermodal connections, an appropriate planning tool is required that provides intuitive and communicable decisions for public decision makers.

Against this background, we present a decision support tool for the design of rural transportation systems based on mobility hubs and intermodal travel itineraries. As objectives, we aim at minimizing overall travel time as well as overall access to social opportunities. We decide on locations of mobility hubs where new mobility modes are offered in addition to existing public transportation modes. We model intermodal travel itineraries by considering transfers between different mobility modes at mobility hubs. Further, we present a procedure to reduce complexity of intermodal travel itineraries. Herein, we eliminate redundant itineraries due to upper bounds on travel time, mobility modes and transfers as well as dominated itineraries in terms of both required mobility hub installations and travel time.

Within an agile development process in close cooperation with public decision makers, we apply our approach to a real-world case study to validate our model, obtain results for public decision makers and gain general managerial insights. A-priori, an analysis of current travel volumes and current travel times highlights weaknesses of the existing public transportation system. Based on the two objective functions, we then obtain optimal locations for mobility hubs as well as suggestions for novel intermodal connections. First results promise significant potentials to reduce travel times as well as to improve access to social opportunities for rural inhabitants.


Status: accepted

Back to the list of papers