Line-Specific Energy Modeling Framework for Urban Rail Transit Systems: A Case Study of Boston

Zhuo Han, Eric Gonzales, Eleni Christofa, Jimi Oke 2023. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board :036119812311701.


Urban rail transit systems play an essential role in improving mobility and efficiency. A complex rail transit network serves the Boston metropolitan area, U.S., which costs $38 million for the 422 GWh of system electricity consumed annually. With the aim of developing a tool for energy and cost reduction decision support, we propose a comprehensive machine learning framework to investigate line-specific contributions to energy. This effort builds on prior work in estimating a system-wide energy model for the Boston network. By introducing line-specific train movement and operation variables, we obtain a higher-performing model ( R 2 =0.91) (R2=0.91) . Furthermore, the model better explains the relationship between energy and train movement, ridership, and weather variables. Most importantly, the model facilitates analyses of how each line contributes to system consumption at the hour level. We found that the non-line-specific variables made a contribution of −2.7% to the average hourly energy of consumption of −5.4 MWh with a baseline energy consumption of 39 MWh. The Red Line dominates the energy consumption among line-specific variables, contributing 2.3% to the hourly average. Our model could be further enhanced to evaluate the energy and cost impacts of line-specific strategies that may be required for future planning and disaster response, as well as for real-time energy monitoring by line.