Within the framework of the EU project Baltic Loop, Region Örebro County has mapped and analysed various digital and automated working methods that could contribute to shorter travel times in public transport. A number of different nodes, both along the railway and with other public transport, in Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia have been analysed from a travel time perspective. Current train planning processes and railway operations in the four countries have been analysed to get an idea of ​​how much extra time is applied in timetable construction, and whether this time could be removed by applying one or several of the digital and automated working methods that have been mapped.

Of the countries studied, practice regarding timetable construction looks to some extent different. In Estonia and Latvia, there are few public documents showing the regulated practice of timetable construction. The report shows that both Sweden and Finland have regulations regarding extra redundancy in timetable construction. The supplement for redundancy is calculated differently, and is therefore difficult to compare, but based on the primary nodes in Sweden and Finland, it has been concluded that Finland has more redundancy than Sweden per travel minute.

  • As Sweden and Finland provide more open data than Estonia and Latvia, the descriptions of Sweden’s and Finland’s railway network are more detailed than the descriptions of Estonia’s and Latvia’s railway network, says Ahmed Alaeddine, project manager at Region Örebro County.

Investment in infrastructure and maintenance on the railway are necessary for reduced travel times

There are a number of driver support systems on the market that could reduce travel time in public transport, as traffic can be planned more frequently through more detailed driving information for train drivers. In the case of timetable construction, a simulator could possibly be used to find efficiency possibilities in travel time.

It would also be possible to reduce travel time through a number of measures that do not require digital aids – however, these measures come with certain consequences that need to be considered. Most of the redundancy in the timetable is intended to compensate for quality deficiencies in the railway system. By reducing margins without investing in the railway system, there is a risk of increased disturbance sensitivity.

>> Full text version of the research paper available Here