Allocating railway platforms using a genetic algorithm

This paper describes an approach to automating railway station platform allocation. The system uses a Genetic Algorithm (GA) to find how a station’s resources should be allocated. Real data is used which needs to be transformed to be suitable for the automated system. Successful or ‘fit’ allocations provide a solution that meets the needs of the station schedule including platform re-occupation and various other constraints. The system associates the train data to derive the station requirements. The Genetic Algorithm is used to derive platform allocations. Finally, the system may be extended to take into account how further parameters that are external to the station have an effect on how an allocation should be applied. The system successfully allocates around 1000 trains to platforms in around 30 seconds requiring a genome of around 1000 genes to achieve this.