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Socially efficient railway capacity allocation

Project Number: 421

Project Leader: Jonas Eliasson

Start Date: 2015-04-01

End Date: 2019-04-01

Research Question The Swedish railway system is deregulated in the sense that all operators can apply for permission to run trains. Operators hence apply for timetable slots in an annual process. Since railway capacity is limited, Trafikverket often needs to adjust or even decline these applications – usually by minor adjustments of departure or running times of trains relative to the original applications, but in principle some slot applications may be declined entirely. This process, where operator applications are negotiated into a feasible overall timetable, is called the capacity allocation process (“tåglägestilldelning”). The government has instructed Trafikverket that the process for capacity allocation should be “socially efficient”, meaning that the resulting timetable should yield maximal socially net benefits. However, there is very little guidance or analysis of how this general principle can be operationalised. In a previous memo, Eliasson and Aronsson (2014) argued

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