Project topics - Narayan Rangaraj (email@example.com)
These topics are of current interest to me, and can be considered by M.Tech students for MTP to be done during May 2023- June 2024. Versions of these topics can also be tried by M.Sc. students project 1/2 or for seminar topics or for other students interested in projects. Please send email if interested in any of this.
Tool based bus/metro timetable development
Bus agencies in India develop their timetables, vehicle and crew schedules manually, taking care of various constraints like travel time, depot capacity, route-level demand etc. Manual methods lead to limited updates based on changing travel needs due to the sheer complexity of doing it and the high cost of commercial tools.
[Cities can benefit from tools like LinTim (www.linitim.net) which can generate timetables based on various input variables. The student can apply the tool for one case city (e.g. Chennai/ Bangalore) to review the current timetables on various routes and try to generate similar timetables using LinTim. This may require some customization to the tool to consider various inputs considered by Indian bus agencies.]
Application of line-planning and other tools for Metro Rail:
Ticketing data analysis for metro (e.g. Bangalore) has helped identify the sections of the lines with the maximum demand. The system can potentially run short loop services to serve the peak demand sections better. A tool is being developing for DMRC (Delhi Metro) and can potentially help BMRCL (Bangalore Metro) as well. The student can consider developing a workable model which can be transferred to BMRCL eventually.
The broad issue is that of line planning, ie. deciding what services to run and at what frequency.
Crew planning tools for bus/metro/rail operations
Duty schedules for transport organizations are governed by regulations on duty hours and rest times (over one day, across two days, across a week, etc). For given timetables, efficient duty schedules need to be developed to make good use of crew resources. These need to be tested on the data relevant to transport organizations such as metro/bus/rail operations.
Planning tools for mainline rail operations
Indian Railways sometimes approaches us for various possible tool development possibilities. As the network evolves, many decisions need to be taken regarding what services to run, detailed timetable preparation, capacity analysis of various sections/routes/subnetworks etc. The student is expected to work with whichever arm of the Railway is willing to collaborate with us actively. Interaction with CRIS (Center for Railway Information Systems) in Delhi is anticipated.
Theory, modeling and computation
Students interested in theory can study the PESP (Periodic Event Scheduling Problem) and try their hand at test problems in http://num.math.uni-goettingen.de/~m.goerigk/pesplib/
Some background is needed to read about the problem statements in the references on that page.
As you can see, none of the test problems have been solved optimally, and after reading the relevant theory, an attempt can be made at doing better than the best known solution.
Equally important would be to develop specific examples (e.g. Mumbai suburban rail) and contribute to the database of interesting problems to be taken up.
--> Students planning to work on these topics should be willing to work with real data from some metro or rail or bus organization (after initial reading and preparation), and potentially spend some time in summer and/or 3rd/4th semester working actively with these agencies. Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi have been identified as possible contact agencies, but other cities/areas are possible. For some of the topics, students can try to study some of the tools/techniques suggested in www.lintim.net
Resource persons from outside IIT Bombay are also available and the student is also expected to work closely with other students working on related problems in IEOR and Elec Engg.
In Railway work, willingness to look at timetables, network data, maps and details of rail operations are required.
While I do not doubt the interest or ability of any student, the above aspects are what I would be looking for - no pre-requisites are required.