The winner of the Karl Vossloh Innovation Prize 2022, which is endowed with 10,000 euros, is Dr Moritz Ruf. He completed his doctorate at the "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport Sciences at TU Dresden.

Every two years, the Vossloh Foundation awards the prestigious Karl Vossloh Innovation Prize to scientific work that sheds light on interdisciplinary relationships. The award for the year 2022 was conferred on September 19, 2023 as part of the 19th Railway and Urban Rail Forum in Erfurt (video of the event in German, award ceremony from minute 2:12). Moritz Ruf received the prize for his dissertation on "Planning Resource Requirements in Rail Freight Facilities by Applying Machine Learninge", which presents a pioneering approach. Moritz Ruf was nominated for the award by the Chair of Rail Transport, Urban and Regional Public Transport at TU Dresden, where his doctoral supervisor Professor Rainer König held the chair until 2022.

Moritz Ruf's doctoral thesis deals with a fundamental topic in rail freight transport - resource dimensioning. This process answers the question of how many locomotives, personnel and infrastructure are needed to ensure smooth operations. Conventional planning approaches often require extensive and time-consuming preparatory work, as they are based on detailed shunting work plans, which in turn depend on high-quality data. However, as data quality is often inadequate in practice, these plans are in many cases inaccurate and difficult to implement.

Innovative method accelerates planning processes for railroad companies

The prizewinner investigated how methods of modern machine learning can improve resource dimensioning and eliminate the prevailing uncertainty in planning. His research showed that regression methods from the field of machine learning enable high-quality resource dimensioning without the need to create complex routing plans. This innovative method speeds up and simplifies the planning process significantly, which is of great benefit to rail transport companies in particular, as it allows them to request the right resources even in the case of sudden changes and thus act flexibly and efficiently.

The public defense of the dissertation took place on September 27, 2021 as part of a video conference, which was attended by numerous interested listeners. In addition to Prof. König, the thesis was supervised by Prof. Dr. Jean-François Cordeau from HEC Montréal/Canada. After completing his doctorate, Moritz Ruf left TU Dresden to work as founder and managing director of ITORA GmbH, a company established from the "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, on innovative software projects for rail freight transport.

Regarding his receipt of the Karl Vossloh Innovation Award, Moritz Ruf says:"I am very grateful to the Karl Vossloh Foundation for honoring me with the Innovation Award. I am particularly pleased that the award shows that innovations can not only be of a technical nature, but can also bring about significant improvements by shedding new light on operational and process-related aspects."

Karl Vossloh Foundation

The Karl Vossloh Foundation was established on 3 April 1995 by the siblings Anni and Reinhild Vossloh in honour of their father Karl Vossloh (a German entrepreneur, engineer and inventor, 1882 - 1960). On the one hand, the foundation expresses the social understanding of the Vossloh family. On the other hand, it promotes research where Karl Vossloh significantly contributed his inventiveness: in the field of railway construction. Today, not only pure "railway builders" are addressed. With the topic of mobility as a megatrend and the numerous challenges for the transport of the future, the foundation would like to support this on a broad (and interdisciplinary) basis.

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Melina Herrmann / Red. bearb.

About Dr. Ing. Moritz Ruf

Dr.-Ing. Moritz Ruf, born in 1989, received his basic scientific training at the TU Berlin in transport engineering (B.Sc.) and continued his studies at the Faculty of Transport Sciences "Friedrich List" at the TU Dresden in railroad systems engineering (M.Sc.).

After completing his academic education, he worked as a research assistant at the Chair of Rail Transport, Urban and Regional Public Transport from 2016 to 2020. During this time, he also held the position of Deputy Head of the "Center for Rail Logistics", where he worked on the digitalization of rail freight transport.

During a research stay at the "CIRRELT" Institute in Montréal, Canada, he devoted himself to mathematical optimization problems in logistics.