Field trip to Hamburger Hochbahn AG
On Tuesday, July 19, 2016, ten of our Chapter members went to the Hamburger Hochbahn AG, the company responsible for public bus and subway transport in Hamburg. Mr. Hübener, who is head of the department of operations control for bus operations, introduced us to the company facts and outlined the daily tasks for public transport. The focus of his talk was on the challenge of transport network optimization. Although we did not discuss the mathematical models themself, we learned that the optimization of the routes, of the bus depot placement and layout - indeed the parking place for each single bus - is a rather complex matter. And the problem will become even more complicated by the introduction of emission free buses. These have a shorter driving range before they have to refill or recharge and thus routes will have to be changed or filling/charging stations will have to be placed in a strategically good location. Another constraint is the already packed ground of Hamburg: Not each optimal place is free for a new construction.
So, this optimization problem depends not only on passenger numbers but also on the political context regarding, e.g., sustainability, barrier-freeness, and city design. In summary it seems like a very nice and challenging problem for any mathematician.
We would like to thank Mr. Köllisch, for organizing our visit to the Hamburger Hochbahn AG, and Mr. Hübener, who gave a very nice talk and answered all our questions passionately.