Train Station Capacity Engineering


From a transport perspective, train stations are hubs where multiple public and private transport modes – including trains – are connected. At train stations, all passengers are pedestrians, as they transfer between their modes of transport. The pedestrian traffic dynamics inside a train station are to a large extent determined by the schedule of trains and other significant scheduled modes of transport (i.e. subways or trams). Although much research has been done on both train operations and pedestrian traffic, research on their interface is limited. This PhD study is aimed at determining which factors are relevant for estimating the pedestrian capacity of a train station.

Scientific challenges

In literature on train operations and pedestrian dynamics, many potential factors for the pedestrian capacity of train stations can be identified. At the same time, existing research on pedestrian traffic dynamics at train stations is based on limited (non-synthetic) empirical data. The primary challenge is to identify the factors that matter most for pedestrian capacity. For this research, large datasets on pedestrian dynamics at some train stations in The Netherlands are available. The secondary challenge is to select and process subsets of representative data from which relevant information for this study can be generated.

Societal relevance

Due to rail traffic growth, many train stations have to process more passengers than ever before. At the same time, the options for capacity enlargement of train stations are limited due to their location in dense urban areas. This makes capacity enlargement projects complex and lengthy. Moreover, these projects are extremely expensive regarding a large amount of public and private funds required, and the impact on daily operations and large numbers of passengers. A valid method to estimate the pedestrian capacity of a train station has a great value for both planning and operations of train stations and railway networks.

Jeroen van den Heuvel

Start/end date: 1 July 2012 – December 2018 (part-time)
Daily supervisor: Winnie Daamen (Delft University of Technology), Sebastiaan de Wilde (NS Stations)
Promotor: Serge Hoogendoorn