The SUPERBUS project aims to develop an advanced planning and scheduling tool for public transport fleets (particularly buses). The developments achieved during the project will be evaluated by three demonstrations in different real operating conditions.
The main objectives are to:
- Develop a planning and scheduling tool (PST) for public transport fleets that will incorporate the flexibility the end-user (ie the public transport operator) needs in order to implement evolving requirements while taking account of constraints (including ways to express non-numerical ones).
- Integrate an advanced PTFMCS (public transport management and control system) and the developed PST, so that a feed back from the real world through the control system (the PTFMCS) can be introduced. This capability enables a replanning process to take place, allowing automatic reactions from the system and on-line modifications to the initial assignment of resources (reactive planning).
- Generalise this PST tool in order to make it implementation-independent and give it access to the broadest possible market in competitive conditions. Although it is intended to produce a demonstration at the end of the project on a particular PTFMCS, the integration of the SUPERBUS tool in other existing PTFMCS will be studied in detail.
The technical approach includes the combination of constraint logic programming with advanced optimisation techniques, so that flexibility of use is added to preferment solvers. All the project work (particularly, modelling, design, implementation and demonstration) will be application-oriented.
The main innovations that the SUPERBUS tool will incorporate will be:
- flexibility of use and capacity to deal with multigoal optimisation processes in an integrated way
- integration with a current public transport fleet monitoring and control system (PTFMCS or SAE), so that a reactive planning of the resources available (human and material) is carried out in real time.
The main result of the project will be a set of demonstrations of the SUPERBUS tool that will show to what extent the planned objectives have been achieved.
The exploitation of the results will come through the joint marketing of this tool with ETRA's existing SAE (an advanced PTFMCS) and its marketing as a stand alone tool. The main industrial partners intend to exploit SUPERBUS by enhancing their range of products involving IT applied to public transport (in the case of ETRA), demonstrating the suitability of CLP for this IT application, and testing the corresponding market (in the case of PrologIA).