Locomotive Operating Plan Optimization
Railroad blocking is an important part of operating plan design. After licensing our railroad blocking optimizer, BNSF Railway, the second-largest freight railroad in North America, used it to incrementally optimize its blocking plan periodically, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in annual savings.
Through several years of research and development, we developed an algorithm to solve the railroad blocking problem and completed a pilot project for BNSF Railway. Our pilot project demonstrated that our blocking optimizer could generate implementable blocking plans, and we showed the potential benefits of plans generated by the optimizer compared to the plans in use at BNSF.
At BNSF’s request, we added several modifications to the optimizer to incorporate new functionalities and enhanced existing capabilities to better model the client’s unique business practices. We helped prepare the data for the blocking optimizer, created a data bridge and integrated our solution with BNSF’s production systems.
- Since its deployment, the blocking optimizer has helped save tens of millions of dollars annually in operating expenses.
- It has reduced the time to create, evaluate and implement design changes from weeks to days, using fewer service design personnel.
- BNSF also uses the blocking optimizer for special studies, such as upgrading or downgrading a yard or adding a new yard.