Bylaws of the

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

Railway Applications Section


This organization shall be named the Railway Applications Section, hereinafter the Section or RAS, of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, hereinafter the Institute.


The purposes of the Section shall be:

  1. Promote the interaction and exchange of ideas among rail industry officials, railway operations research and analytics personnel, consultants, and members of academia;
  2. Explore the potential for increasing railway productivity through the application of operations research and analytics techniques;
  3. Disseminate information regarding current operating problems and operations research and analytics methodologies and applications in the rail industry;
  4. Encourage more interest and active Section participation by practitioners, researchers, and students in the area of railway management and operations. 


Any member of the Institute may become a RAS member by paying the Section dues. Individuals who are not members of the Institute may become RAS members by paying a Section membership fee slightly higher than that paid by members of the Institute. The increased fee for RAS community-only members who are not students will be at least $10 or 50% more than the Section dues for Institute members, whichever increment is greater. RAS membership and participation shall be free from discrimination on any basis, with equal rights, duties and privileges, with the following exceptions:

  • Only Section members who are also members of the Institute may vote in RAS elections for Section officers.
  • Only Section members who are also members of the Institute may serve as officers.

Every RAS member shall have the privilege of nominating a Section member for the elected positions of the Section, and every RAS member has voting rights on all matters, except for the RAS elections for Section officers, coming before the RAS membership.


  1. The officers of the Section shall be a chair, vice chair/chair elect, secretary, treasurer and public relations officer.
  2. The chair shall be the chief administrative officer of the Section and shall be responsible for the development and execution of the Section's program. He/she shall (1) call and organize meetings of the Section, (2) appoint ad hoc committees as required, (3) appoint chairs and members of standing committees, (4) manage the affairs of the Section between meetings, and (5) preside over Section business meetings.
  3. The vice chair shall be the principal assistant administrative officer of the Section and shall act as chair in the absence of the chair. He/she shall have such other duties as the chair shall assign to him/her. The vice chair shall also be responsible for conducting the annual election of officers for the Section.
  4. The secretary shall conduct the business communications of the section, keep the minutes and records of the Section, administer the process to amend the Section’s bylaws, arrange for the orderly transfer of all Section's records to the secretary succeeding him/her, and perform other duties assigned to him/her by the Section chair.
  5. The treasurer shall be responsible for the administration and disbursement of the Section funds as directed by the Section chair, engage with RAS sponsors, prepare and distribute reports of the financial condition of the Section, prepare the annual budget of the Section for submission to INFORMS, arrange for the orderly transfer of all Section's financial records to the treasurer succeeding him/her, and perform other duties assigned to him/her by the Section chair.
  6. The public relations officer will be responsible for
    • Overseeing new additions and updates to the RAS website
    • Maintaining an active presence for RAS on INFORMS Connect, LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or other social media accounts.
    • Managing the RAS distribution list
    • Ensuring the RAS newsletter with quality content is published and distributed annually in a timely fashion
    • Identifying content, frequency and methods of communicating with the membership
    • Identifying and executing strategies to retain current regular and student members and recruit new members of both types
  7.  Any Section member accepting nomination for elective office in the Section is understood to have agreed to perform the duties of that office if elected, and in particular to have agreed to attend the regular Section meetings during his/her tenure, except as his/her attendance is prevented by unusual circumstances. If a Section elected official must miss a meeting or be temporarily unable to carry out his/her responsibilities, he/she shall advise the chair and shall make other arrangements for the discharge of his/her responsibilities. If an elected official should fail during his/her tenure to attend regular Section meetings and to carry out the responsibilities of the office the remaining officers may elect to remove him/her and name a replacement by a vote. In the event that the chair is removed, the vice chair shall take his/her place and the officers shall name a replacement for the vice chair.


  1. All elected officers shall be elected in accordance with any concurrent INFORMS election rules and procedures. Additional election regulations and recommendations specific to RAS are listed subsequently.
  2. The Section shall annually elect a vice chair who will serve a term as vice chair of one year and succeed to the chair position at the completion of the vice chair term. Accepting the vice chair position requires a two-year commitment of service to the Section elected leadership.
  3. The secretary, treasurer and public relations officer shall be elected annually and serve a one-year term each.
  4. A previous chair may not run for the vice chair office until at least one year has passed since the completion of his/her term as chair.
  5. The secretary and treasurer, if reelected, may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms in the same office.
  6. Elections and nominations shall be conducted by the vice chair.
  7. Nominations shall be conducted under the following guidelines:
    1. The vice chair shall solicit the section membership for nominations.
    2. Nominees must be current members of RAS and INFORMS
    3. Nominees may self-nominate or be nominated by another member. Nominees shall be contacted prior to the election to confirm their acceptance of the nomination.
    4. The slate should consist of at least two nominees for vice chair/chair elect and at least one nominee for secretary, treasurer, and public relations officer.
    5. Nominations must conclude at least two weeks prior to elections.
  1. Elections shall be conducted according to the following conditions
    1. Elections shall be open for no more than two weeks and excepting ties, must conclude at least one month prior to the fall section meeting.
    2. Elections shall be conducted by electronic ballot.
    3. Nominees for each officer position shall be listed in alphabetical order by last name.
    4. The winning candidate for each position shall be the candidate receiving the largest number of votes. In the event of a tie vote for any position, the members present at the next business meeting of the Section shall choose between the tied candidates by written or electronic ballot.
  1. Officer terms shall commence at the beginning of the calendar year.
  2. Newly elected officers shall participate in officer activities following the fall meeting. Outgoing officers shall continue to serve their terms until the end of the calendar year and transition relevant information and responsibilities to incoming officers in the interim.


The Section chair shall establish and dissolve committees as required and shall appoint qualified chairs to head these committees. Examples of such committees include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Committees to conduct RAS-sponsored competitions such as the problem-solving competition and/or student paper competition;
  2. Committees to investigate potential policies and procedural changes;
  3. Leadership advisory panel to provide recommendations to elected leadership and ensure continuity of the Section priorities and philosophy;
  4. Committees to advise or pursue any relevant issue to the Section, such as membership, violation of ethics, or committees pursuant to larger INFORMS issues;
  5. Committees to facilitate RAS-sponsored events such as the annual meeting dinner, roundtable and/or poster competition.


  1. All Section activities must be consistent with the provisions of the Institute Constitution and Bylaws and with the dignity of a professional association and the nonprofit status of the Institute. A subdivision may be disbanded (a) on grounds of professional or financial irresponsibility, (b) if it becomes inactive, or (c) if its membership falls below the minimum number required, according to INFORMS Policies and Procedures. A subdivision’s assets ultimately belong to the Institute and shall revert to the Institute in the event that the subdivision is disbanded or otherwise ceases to be a subdivision of the Institute.
  2. The Section shall not maintain any bank account separate from accounts owned by INFORMS.
  3. The Section shall file an activity report annually with the Institute Business Office describing Section activities during the past January 1 through December 31. It shall be filed no later than January 31.
  4. The Section shall notify the Institute Vice President of Sections and Societies on the results of the elections immediately following the elections.
  5. The Section shall also provide information or file reports throughout the year as reasonably requested by the Institute Board of Directors or officers of the Institute.
  6. Neither the Institute nor the Institute Board of Directors, by granting a charter to the Section, assumes any liability or responsibility for any obligations of any kind incurred by the Section unless prior written approval is obtained. The Institute Board alone has the authority to commit the Institute or any of its subdivisions to a contract. Review and approval of contracts are delegated to the Executive Director.


  1. Proposed amendments to these bylaws that are consistent with those of the Institute may be initiated either by an action of the elected officers of the Section or by petition to the chair signed by 10% of the membership or 15 members of the Section, whichever is larger. The secretary shall distribute electronic or printed copies of the proposed changes to all members of the Section not less than three weeks before a regular business meeting. An open discussion of the proposed amendment to the bylaws shall be carried out at the following business meeting of the Section.
  2. No more than two months after the discussion of the proposed amendment, the secretary shall distribute copies of the proposed amendment and electronic or printed ballot forms to the Section membership. No ballot shall be counted unless marked by a Section member to indicate his/her choice and received by the secretary within two weeks of distributing ballots.
  3. The adoption of the proposed amendment shall require an affirmative vote by at least 60% of the members voting. The result of the balloting shall be announced to the membership by the secretary.
  4. If approved by the Section membership, the proposed amendment to the Bylaws shall become effective upon approval by the Institute.


  1. At least one business meeting of the Section shall coincide with a regular meeting of INFORMS whenever practicable. Additional business meetings may be held at the discretion of the Section officers.
  2. The members of RAS may call a special meeting of the membership upon signed petition to the Secretary of at least 25% of the Section membership.
  3. All meetings are to be open to the entire Section membership. If RAS chooses, some or all of its meetings may be opened to other interested people as well.
  4. The quorum for action at a business meeting shall be 5% of the membership or 15 members of the Section, whichever is larger.
  5. Robert’s Rules of Order shall guide all Board and Section membership meetings except in those cases where they are inconsistent with these Bylaws.


  1. RAS shall maintain a written Policies and Procedures Manual governing the administration of the prizes, competitions, and any other services that the RAS officers deem are beneficial. An electronic copy of this document will also be placed on the Section website. This Policies and Procedures document shall be revised and updated by the RAS officers to align with current RAS practices.
  2. Minor changes to the Policies and Procedures Manual and procedures which do not significantly alter operation of any activity or service may be approved by the elected officers with a two-thirds majority vote without broader discussion.
  3. Major modifications to the Policies and Procedures Manual must be posted for discussion on the RAS website and announced by email. The originator of the proposal shall compile and present feedback to the elected RAS officers and general membership. A vote by the entire RAS membership may not take place until the proposal has been posted for at least four weeks and the officers and members have reviewed all comments and appropriately amended the proposal.
  4. The adoption of proposed major modifications to the Policies and Procedures Manual shall require an affirmative vote by at least 60% of the members voting. The result of the balloting shall be announced to the membership by the secretary.