Optimal track access rights allocation for agent negotiation in an open railway market
In open railway access markets, a train service provider (TSP) negotiates with an infrastructure provider (IP) for track access rights. This negotiation has been modeled by a multiagent system in which the IP and the TSP are represented by separate software agents. One of the tasks of the IP agent is to generate feasible (and preferably optimal) track access rights, subject to the constraints submitted by the TSP agent. This paper formulates an IP-TSP transaction and proposes a branch-and-bound algorithm for the IP agent to identify the optimal track access rights. Empirical simulation results show that the model is able to emulate rational agent behaviors. The simulation results also show good consistency between the timetables that were attained from the proposed methods and those that were derived by the scheduling principles adopted in practice.