Optimizing Locations of Energy Storage Devices and Speed Profiles for Sustainable Urban Rail Transit

Leon Allen, Steven Chien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Urban growth and the resulting highway congestion is driving up demand for rail transit. Rail, a significant component of transportation infrastructure, is critical to economic efficiency and is one of the least energy-intensive modes. However, the scale of operations results in high energy consumption, atmospheric pollution, and operating costs. Fortunately, some of the braking energy can be harvested and either used to power a simultaneously accelerating train or stored to power subsequent accelerations. The objective of this research was to optimize the number of locations of the energy storage devices and speed profiles. First, kinematic equations were applied to simulate energy consumption. Then, a genetic algorithm (GA) was developed to optimize the speed profiles that minimize the energy consumption with and without a wayside energy storage unit (WESS) for a rail transit line. Finally, a model was developed to optimize the WESS locations that maximized the net benefit. A case study was conducted to examine the model in a real-world setting and to demonstrate its effectiveness. The results indicate that about 980 MWh of electrical energy, or an additional 5%, could be saved by optimizing the WESS locations over only applying speed profile optimization. In addition to significant energy savings, environmental emissions could be mitigated using these methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04023003
JournalJournal of Infrastructure Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


  • Energy storage
  • Infrastructure
  • Rail
  • Regenerative braking
  • Simulation
  • Speed profile


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