This project models track inspection operations on a railroad network and discusses how the inspection results can be used to measure the risk of failure on the tracks. In particular, the inspection times of the tracks, inspection frequency of the tracks, and times between consecutive inspections on the same tracks should be considered for scheduling inspections on the railroad tracks. Furthermore, an inspection plan should schedule inspections considering the characteristics of different tracks. Therefore, it is important to schedule track inspections such that the potential defects are captured as much as possible within minimum times to increase safety. The project formulates a mathematical optimization problem for the track inspection planning considering the practical settings of track inspection operations such as inspection times, inspection frequencies required, time between consecutive inspections, and importance of distinct tracks. The two objectives simultaneously captured in this model are minimization of total inspection times and maximization of the weighted inspections. An efficient solution method is proposed for solving this model. The solution method is compared to a scheduling procedure, which can be used in absence of the findings in this project, on a set of railroad track networks of different sizes. Based on the comparison, the solution method proposed proves to find improved inspection schedules regardless of the railroad network size. A review of the techniques on how to use the inspection results to measure risk of failure is provided.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering


Final Report Prepared for Missouri Department of Transportation

Contract or Grant No.: TR201409

The investigation was conducted in cooperation with the U. S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration.

Keywords and Phrases

Track Inspection; Scheduling; Track Risk

Report Number


Document Type

Report - Technical

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





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