Abstract Transport is the foundation of any economy: it boosts economic growth, creates wealth, enhances trade, geographical accessibility and the mobility of people. Transport is also a key ingredient for a high quality of life, making places accessible and bringing people together. The future prosperity of our world will depend on the ability of all of its regions to remain fully and competitively integrated in the world economy. Efficient transport is vital in making this happen. Operations research can help in efficiently planning the design and operating transport systems. Planning and operational processes are fields that are rich in combinatorial optimization problems. These problems can be analyzed and solved through the application of mathematical models and optimization techniques, which may lead to an improvement in the performance of the transport system, as well as to a reduction in the time required for solving these problems. The latter aspect is important, because it increases the flexibility of the system: the system can adapt in a faster way to changes in the environment (i.e.: weather conditions, crew illness, failures, etc.). These disturbing changes (called disruptions) often enforce the schedule to be adapted. The direct consequences are delays and cancellations, implying many schedule adjustments and huge costs. Consequently, robust schedules and recovery plans must be developed in order to fight against disruptions. This dissertation makes contributions to two different fields: rail and air applications. Robust planning and recovery methods are presented. In the field of railway transport we develop several mathematical models which answer to RENFE’s (the major railway operator in Spain) needs: 1. We study the rolling stock assignment problem: here, we introduce some robust aspects in order to ameliorate some operations which are likely to fail. Once the rolling stock assignment is known, we propose a robust routing model which aims at identifying the train units’ sequences while minimizing the expected delays and human resources needed to perform the sequences. 2. It is widely accepted that the sequential solving approach produces solutions that are not global optima. Therefore, we develop an integrated and robust model to determine the train schedule and rolling stock assignment. We also propose an integrated model to study the rolling stock circulations. Circulations are determined by the rolling stock assignment and routing of the train units. 3. Although our aim is to develop robust plans, disruptions will be likely to occur and recovery methods will be needed. Therefore, we propose a recovery method which aims to recover the train schedule and rolling stock assignment in an integrated fashion all while considering the passenger demand. In the field of air transport we develop several mathematical models which answer to IBERIA’s (the major airline in Spain) needs: 1. We look at the airline-scheduling problem and develop an integrated approach that optimizes schedule design, fleet assignment and passenger use so as to reduce costs and create fewer incompatibilities between decisions. Robust itineraries are created to ameliorate misconnected passengers. 2. Air transport operators are continuously facing competition from other air operators and different modes of transport (e.g., High Speed Rail). Consequently, airline profitability is critically influenced by the airline’s ability to estimate passenger demands and construct profitable flight schedules. We consider multi-modal competition including airline and rail, and develop a new approach that estimates the demand associated with a given schedule; and generates airline schedules and fleet assignments using an integrated schedule design and fleet assignment optimization model that captures the impacts of schedule decisions on passenger demand.