September 06 – 08
International Conference on Operations Research

Dr. Christoph Klingenberg (Deutsche Bahn), FB-25, HFB|D

Dr. Christoph Klingenberg

Dr. Christoph Klingenberg

Friday, 10.50 - 11.35, HFB|D

Improving on-time performance at Deutsche Bahn

This presentation outlines a framework for improving the on-time performance of a public transport provider from a practitioners’ point of view.

In setting the goal for the on-time performance we differentiate between the punctuality for the passenger journey including transfer between trains and the punctuality for each service (train). Besides a differentiated goal you need a simple cost estimate per minute delay, again for a passenger minute and a train minute.

The basic analytic work is to carry out various comparisons of scheduled versus actual values for travel times between stations, stopping times at stations, transfer times between services, maintenance duration or rotation plans for trains. For each analysis, we filter the erratic component (as represented by the standard deviation) from the systematic “plan-error” component (difference between the mean value and the plan value). This leads to the two basic directions to take for improving the on-time performance:

  • stabilize operations, i.e. eliminate erratic disturbances and
  • adjust the plan to the mean value of actuals or some value close to the mean value

This implies departing from static scheduling as introduced in the 50ies and still employed by most major railways and introducing a dynamic scheduling approach using OR methods.

The main obstacle to adjusting the schedule to accommodate the systematic errors is an overcrowded train system with very limited room for time-shifting train paths ( schedules). We discuss options to solve this impasse within the given framework through a comprehensive optimization approach (unfreeze the system).

Dr. Christoph Klingenberg studied mathematics and computer science at the universities of Hamburg and Bonn, Germany and spent postgraduate research at the universities of Cologne, Germany and Princeton and Harvard, USA. He then joined McKinsey&Company for a career in top management consulting for 6 years. The major part of his professional live he spent with Lufthansa German Airlines in various strategic, planning and operational positions. In 2014 he joined Deutsche Bahn (German railways) and currently heads the strategic division programs for the group including projects for autonomous driving, European train control systems and improved operational performance.

Dr. Klingenberg is married with 3 children and lives in Mainz, Germany.