North America's largest owner and operator of railcars

News Recognition

Read more about this use case in a May 2013 Railway Age article.


Leadership of TTX, a large and complex asset holding and management company sought to improve service and fleet utilization through further optimization.


TTX's CIO and senior business executives hired Princeton Consultants to transform a mainframe-based system into a modern web-based platform with embedded optimization technologies and processes.

The highly complex project included many stakeholders including separate business lines with different, specialized management methodologies, and numerous participating railroads with distinct IT platforms and protocols.

Princeton Consultants identified a key opportunity to use customized optimization technology for sophisticated real-time data cleaning.  This tool transformed a crucial process from slow, variable and labor-intensive to high-speed, reliable and highly accurate.


  • Big Data: tracking and managing over 200,000 railcars at over 27,000 reporting locations across 140,000 miles of track
  • Noisy Data: data being supplied by over 7 railroad networks includes chronic missing, duplicate, inaccurate, and late-reporting data
  • Real Time: the system is being used by the North American rail system to track all cars in real-time, in motion
  • Stochastic: transit times vary depending upon many conditions; car availability can be affected by service failures and varying repair times
  • Competitive Gaming: the asset management company is balancing shared assets among competitors, who are nonetheless cooperating for mutual advantage
  • Black Box: the asset management company is providing asset allocation directives for allocation of cars between the different railroads and at different locations


The resulting system has revolutionized railcar management by providing continuous, real-time visibility of activity and location, enabling TTX and the railroads to better manage their costly assets.

The project was a simultaneous finalist for the 2012 Association of Management Consulting Firms (AMCF) Awards in two categories: Operational Performance and Technology Transformation.

The system is credited with achieving an estimated one-percent improvement in fleet utilization, equivalent to 2,000 additional railcars or $42 million in annual savings.  It will help North America’s railroads control their costs for decades to come.