REORIENT: Implementing Change in the European Railway Area

Dr. Mahmassani led, with Dr. Elise Miller-Hooks of the University of Maryland, a $1.06Million effort as part of a $7.2M multi-national multi-partner consortium project. The REORIENT project assessed the process of transforming the European railways from nationally fragmented into internationally integrated rail operating systems as a consequence of the EC interoperability legislation. By so doing, it supported the EU policy of balancing modal split between road and rail freight transport.

The team led by Dr. Mahmassani, jointly with Dr. E. Miller-Hooks at the University of Maryland, had lead responsibility for developing and validating strategies for identifying and removing technological, cultural, social and managerial barriers facing the implementation of competitive intermodal rail freight services across national boundaries. As such, the team was in charge of developing the key recommendations that arose from the entire research effort.  The recommendations are necessarily based on a comprehensive understanding of the operational, institutional and political context surrounding freight service in Europe.  Sophisticated quantitative and qualitative analyses of the operational and social aspects of the freight system likewise compose another essential basis for essential basis for any recommendations. 

Dr. Mahmassani’s team also served as coordinator of all network modeling activities needed to support the project, and led the process of building the corresponding network models and associated freight flow processes through the rail network links and intermodal transfer points, as well as the demand models for short and long term freight flow in the study area.  This resulted in development of a novel network modeling platform to support evaluation of different strategies and measures intended to improve the prospects of rail freight in the corridor, as well as improvement of capacity and service levels. As such, the network modeling effort plays a critical role in supporting the business case development. In addition, the project led to development of novel ways of calibrating and estimating demand models combining various data sources at both macroscopic and microscopic levels. These activities cut across several other work packages led by other entities. The project also involves coming up with a collaborative decision-making framework by which different entities in different countries, including private service providers, can jointly manage complex systems in real time.