Railways and Transport Laboratory


The Railways and Transport Laboratory (RTL) was founded in 1962 and since then it has evolved into a Research Center for Innovation and Excellence in Passenger and Freight Transport, with worldwide recognition. It belongs to the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering  of the School of Civil Engineering. Since its establishment, RTL contributes to the scientific field of transportation engineering through numerous academic and research activities.

The Mission of the Railways and Transport Laboratory of NTUA is to educate future transportation engineers and to promote research in the field of Passenger and Freight Transport. The educational and research activities of the Laboratory are characterized by high innovation, excellent organization and significant contribution to the society.

Scientific Fields

The main scientific fields of the Railways and Transport Laboratory are summarized in the following:

  • Terminal Facilities and Freight Transport Systems
  • Quantitative Methods for the Planning and Operations of Public Transport Networks
  • Planning and Operation of Freight Transport Systems
  • Planning/Design and Operation of Airports
  • Railways Engineering
  • Optimal Planning of Urban Transportation Systems
  • Optimization of Transport Systems Planning


The Laboratory staff consists of 1 Professor, 1 Assistant professor, 3 Emeritus Professors, 1 Laboratory and Teaching staff member, 1 Senior Researcher, 1 Laboratory Technical Staff member and 5 PhD Candidates.


As part of the academic activities of the Laboratory, the following courses are offered:

  • 2 undergraduate core courses of the School of Civil Engineering of NTUA: “Transportation Systems Planning” (6th semester) and “Optimization & Machine Learning” (5th semester).
  • 6 undergraduate mandatory courses in the Transportation Engineering cycle, School of Civil Engineering, NTUA: “Railway Engineering” (8th semester), “Combined Transport-Advanced Systems” (9th semester), “Public Transit Planning” (8th semester), “Airport Planning and Management” (co-teaching, 9th semester), “Quantitative Methods in Transportation” (co-teaching, 9th semester) and “Integrated Project in Transportation Engineering” (co-teaching, 9th semester).
  • 2 postgraduate courses: “Transport and Traffic-Modern Vehicles”, “Shipping and Maritime Transport” (co-teaching).

Additionally, 18 Doctoral Theses and 315 Diploma Theses have been successfully carried out at RTL.

Research Projects

The members of the Laboratory have participated in 134 research projects funded either by the European Union or with national funds. These projects cover in depth the field of Transport Systems Planning and Operation with emphasis on urban transport, rail transport, port terminals, airports, combined transport and supply chain. The results of the research projects, doctoral theses and diploma theses of the Laboratory have been published in scientific journals and scientific conferences proceedings (362 scientific articles in the Scopus database).

Examples of research programs per scientific subject of RTL:

  • Development of a combined transport service on the Athens-Thessaloniki corridor (iCS freight rail service, in operation since 2012)
  • Investigating the possibility of expanding the iCS freight rail service to other regions of Greece and the Balkans
  • Simulation of the port operations and railway terminals – Development of pilot technologies for loading and unloading unitized cargo and semi-trailers in combined transport (SIMET, IMPULSE, ITIP)
  • Rescheduling of the timetables of metro and bus lines in Athens to reduce the door-to-door travel times of passengers using multiple transport modes (CONDUCTOR)
  • Development of an optimal approach for the planning of services at mobility hubs (SUM)
  • Development of the European information system ETIS for road, rail, maritime and air transport (ETIS-AGENT, ETIS-Plus
  • Development of new rail cargo handling systems (CREAM)
  • Wagon Fleet Management in Europe (F-MAN)
  • Promotion of Green Freight Corridors in the Balkan Region (GIFT)
  • Interconnection of Community Information Systems in the Adriatic Sea (APC)

Air transport demand studies, cost-benefit analysis for airport expansion projects, simulation of passenger terminal operations in Greek airports

  • Capacity investigation on the I.S.A.P. line
  • Interconnection of European commercial trains through wireless control (EDIP)

Dynamic traffic map of the Athens area

  • Development of transport telematics networks and dynamic traffic and parking assistance information systems (QUARTET, QUARTET PLUS, FRIDA, PARCMAN, CLEOPATRA, ADEPT)
  • Development of a platform for road and intermodal transport in the framework of the ENIRISST research infrastructure to support research in the fields of shipping, transport and supply chain.

Laboratory Equipment and Software

The Laboratory has modern computational, experimental and instrumental equipment that includes:

  • Traffic load meters
  • Rail stress measurement sensors
  • Sound meters, video cameras and endoscopic cameras
  • Oscilloscope, microcontroller application development tools
  • Servers
  • Geographic Information System (GIS)
  • Traffic simulation software at micro, meso and macro levels (AIMSUN)
  • Systems simulation software (ARENA, AnyLogic – academic licenses)
  • Optimization software (Gurobi – academic license)

In the Lab premises there are exhibits, such as: 1 railway switch, 3 railway bogies, various types of sleepers and a model (simulation) of a railway network with track switches, signalling equipment and blocking sections, train wagons.

The Lab owns simulation software developed within the Laboratory’s research activities.

  • Planning and Optimization Software:
    • Route planning for electric buses
    • Vehicle Routing optimization in near real-time for public transport services (REFLEX)
    • Expert system for selecting an advanced cargo handling system in combined rail transport (ExTip)
  • Simulation Software:
    • airport operations (runway capacity and passenger terminal level of service estimation)
    • handling of unitized cargoes at railway terminals with capabilities of representing conventional and pilot transhipment systems
    • container port terminals
    • operation of the I.S.A.P. line at the Athens Metro network
  • Databases:
    • road, rail and intermodal transport platform