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Swiss Federal Railways uses PTV Visum to optimize service and fleet

SBB Customer Logo (unicolor) SBB Customer Logo (color)

The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has been working with PTV Visum software for over 20 years, to support its medium and long-term service planning.

As the backbone of the Swiss public transport system, SBB ensures over 1.3 million passengers (2019) and 200,000 tons of goods reach their destinations on time every day (2019). It operates over 10,000 trains travel daily across a network that spans more than 3,200 kilometers.


SBB aims to plan and operate an attractive and dependable rail service that meets both current and future demand. To achieve these capacity requirements, SBB relies on PTV Visum for strategic planning and analysis.

PTV Visum is the leading software for traffic analysis, traffic forecasting and GIS data management. It was integrated into SIMBA - SBB‘s internal planning and modelling landscape. PTV Visum then visualizes the network, calculates demand, identifies, and selects optimal routes, maps traffic flows, and manages timetables and services.

The planning process, supported by PTV Visum, includes:

  • Creating and updating the nationwide railway network, including all routes and stations.
  • Mapping timetable data and visualizing it in a network graphic.
  • Continuous workflow along the planning processes, up to strategic railway production planning.
  • Planning of vehicle deployment using line blocking.

SBB’s planning includes examining how traffic and transportation will develop over the next 5, 10 and 20 years. To this end, PTV Visum is used to develop future demand scenarios and timetable concepts.  


SBB uses PTV Visum to make investment decisions for its vehicle procurement and infrastructure projects. The following questions are examined in preparation for procurement:

  • How many electrical multiple units (EMUs) are needed?
  • What are the optimal sizes for meeting demand and keeping costs low?

Based on these calculations, SBB can plan long-term fleet requirements and EMU lengths, that will cover demand economically.


The Schematic Line Diagram, or network diagram, visualizes the regular-interval timetable. Since 2014, SBB uses the PTV Visum module as a core element of its capacity planning. With it, SBB visualizes the regular-interval timetable for railway traffic throughout Switzerland.

The results

Benefit tile time table

Nationwide rail timetable that meets current and future demand

Benefit tile economic planning

Passenger transport is planned economically

Benefit tile project comparison

Projects are compared to each other and evaluated

Benefit tile Visum demand planning

Services are scheduled at customer-friendly intervals

Benefit tile increase demand

Measures to increase demand have been initiated

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