Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1287/inte.1050.0158

In 2001, the 6,500+ drivers and conductors of the Dutch railway operator NS Reizigers were very dissatisfied with the structure of their duties, which led to nationwide strikes. However, the successful application of an operations research model supported the development of an alternative set of scheduling rules. This alternative set of rules, called Sharing-Sweet-and-Sour, satisfied the drivers’ and conductors’ requests for more variety in their duties and improved the railway operator’s punctuality and efficiency. The application of the operations research model cut personnel costs by about $4.8 million (1.2 percent) per year. Moreover, we showed that the railway operator could even reduce personnel costs by over $7 million per year.

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