Under the roof of the Institute of Transportation Sciences are the chairs of Prof. Dr.-Ing. N. Nießen (Chair of Railway Engineering and Transport Economics) and Prof. Dr. rer. nat. J. Reichmuth (Chair of Air Transport and Airport Research).

The main research areas of the Institute of Transport Science (VIA) at the RWTH Aachen are:

Chair of Railway Engineering and Transport Economics

The main task within railway operation science/research is to investigate the railway operation using scientific methods. The results are used for decision-making for:

  • operations management
  • timetable construction and capacity management
  • infrastructure planning and
  • network planning

A series of software solutions has been developed based on the railway operational models scientifically developed by the VIA. In their production processes the Deutsche Bahn AG uses these tools in particular. The VIA also offers consulting services based on this software.

The VIA has a railway technical facility (ELVA) for the purpose of education and training, testing and R & D projects in the field of signalling and safety. Next to the old mechanical marshalling yard/interlocking plant that is mainly used for teaching, the ELVA also contains a relay and an electronic interlocking plant used for research and testing purposes.

The research area transport economics is based on a traffic resistance model for public passenger transport. In this model the traffic resistance of the different offers by the different transport modes are calculated. On one hand, traffic resistance depends on objectively measureable criteria of transportation offers (costs, time), on the other hand it also contains subjective assessment/evaluation of these criteria. Using this model it is possible to investigate the effects of a change in transportation offers (for example increased number of departures, increased punctuality, change in price) on the modal split and the traffic generation. The traffic resistance model is applied in the software tool PNV-Split (Public Urban Transportation - Split). This tool is also offered as part of our consulting services.

Chair of Air Transport and Airport Research

"Urban Air Mobility" (UAM) is one of the main research areas of the chair. Within various research projects, the chair investigates future mobility concepts in aviation. Topics include the legal framework and the design of landing infrastructures for new types of aircraft. Mobility concepts for individualized passenger transport as well as for freight transport are examined. The integration of new infrastructures into existing transport solutions also forms a central aspect. The chair uses the simulation software AnyLogic for a more detailed investigation and visualization of the novel air transportation concepts.

Aviation growth worldwide has put a focus on the sector over its impact to the environment through the emission of harmful gases and particles. At the same time, aircraft operations in and around airports have always been a burden on the communities around them. Even though the total noise produced by airports is decreasing, despite the growth in the aviation sector, the number of people that feel disturbed by airport operations is constantly increasing. The trade-off analysis of the different impacts of aviation and airport operations is a research focus of the Chair of Airports and Air Traffic. Simulation tools such as the Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) developed by the FAA and IMPACT, developed by EUROCONTROL, are used to analyze the different benefits or disadvantages of mitigation measures, changes in operational procedures or infrastructural development.