Mountain railway alignment optimization based on landform recognition and presetting of dominating structures


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Mountain railway alignment optimization has always been a challenge for designers and researchers in this field. It is extremely difficult for existing methods that optimize alignments before major structures to generate a better alignment than the best one provided by human designers when the terrain is drastically undulating between the start and endpoints. To fill this gap, a "structures before alignments" design process is proposed in this paper. Primarily, a landform recognition method is devised for recognizing dominating landforms. Then, a bi-level alignment optimization model is proposed, with the upper level dedicated to characterizing dominating structures and the lower level focusing on optimizing the entire alignments. To solve this bi-level model, a three-stage optimization method is designed. At the first stage, a scanning process and screening operators are devised for generating all the possible locations of dominating structures. At the second stage, a hierarchical multi-criteria decision-making procedure is applied for selecting the optimized dominating structure layouts. At the third stage, alignments are optimized based on the determined structure layouts using a bi-objective optimization method, which minimizes construction cost and geo-hazard risk simultaneously. The proposed model and solution method are applied to two real-world cases whose results verify their capabilities in producing alignment alternatives with better combinations of construction cost and geo-hazard risk than manually designed alternatives.
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