PhD Position Autonomous Public Transport Modelling and Design

Delft University of Technology



The position is open at the Transport & Planning Department and within the PT lab in the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG). CEG is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology and delta technology. The research covers global social issues and is closely connected to education as well as the work of a wide range of knowledge institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to realise these goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

The Transport and Planning Department (T&P) conducts research aimed at understanding the functioning  of civil transport systems, including behaviour of travellers, traffic and transport flows and aimed at interventions to  improve efficiency, safety, resilience and sustainability. T&P (with about 120 staff members) has a strong track record in traffic flow theory, traffic simulation, dynamic traffic management and intelligent transport systems of all transport modes, including railway, pedestrians and urban public transport. Research is conducted at national and international scale in collaboration with public and private partners. A trademark of the department is the use of empirical data, incorporating human factors and advanced modelling tools. T&P is the largest Transport research group at TU Delft, ranked 3rd in the Shanghai World Ranking on Transportation science & Technology in 2018. Next to doing state-of-the-art research, we provide transport and planning courses in the Bachelor programme Civil Engineering, we offer a Transport & Planning track in the MSc programmes Civil Engineering, and we participate in the interfaculty MSc programme Transport Infrastructure and Logistics.

Job Description

Public transport faces several challenges regarding efficiency and provided quality. A promising technical development is automation of both rail- and road bound transit vehicles.

In this PhD project, we are looking for the design of autonomous public transport lines and networks including first/last mile solutions. The research will lead to new insights into the impacts of automation on passengers, society and fleet. The main question is: What are the expected and proven (societal) pros and cons of automated Public Transport (PT) systems? The PhD researcher will perform stated and revealed preference research, regarding for instance passenger preferences and will apply and develop models to predict the impacts of network design choices. The PhD project will be both theoretical and case oriented.    

This research will be performed in close cooperation with public transport operators in the Netherlands and a transit authority. Managing the practical perspective is thus required.

Job Requirements

We are looking for highly talented and driven candidates. The best match is if you:

    • have a relevant MSc degree in Transportation engineering, Civil Engineering or a related applied science field
    • have an analytical approach to problem solving and are eager to learn new things
    • have a proven background and interest in further developing public transport design, modelling and  analytics skills
    • are proficient in English 
    • are interested in public transport planning and operations and autonomous driving
    • have excellent communication skills, are experienced to work in projects and are able to cooperate with both scientists and transport professionals

Knowledge about diverse autonomous transport systems is a plus. Experience in (public) transport modelling, choice modelling and network design as well.

Terms of Employment

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

The minimum salary is your salary in your first year and comes down to EUR 2.325,- per month. The salary mentioned as the maximum (EUR 2.972,-) will be your gross salary per month in your fourth year.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Inform and Apply

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Niels van Oort, To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV, proof of English language proficiency, abstract of your MSc thesis (1 page), 2 pages about your ideas of an approach and methodology to design autonomous public transport systems, including attention to the passenger and vehicle perspective, along with a letter of application in a single PDF file entitled “CiTG19.20_Lastname.pdf” by June 27 2019 to Dr. van Oort via, Please make sure to include in your document examples of projects in which you successfully demonstrate your public transport and autonomous transport knowledge and modelling and analytical skills

In your application, please refer to