CIE4811-18 Planning and Operations of Public Transport Systems

This is an introductory course to the planning and operations of public transport systems. Students will learn how public transport systems are planned, starting from the long-term strategic planning, going through tactical planning and finally discussing its real-time operations. Planning dilemmas and solution approaches to planning topics prevalent in passenger transport systems will be discussed and applied. Lectures are given by a team of teachers.

CIE5825 Advanced Public Transport Operations and Modelling

This is a follow up course of CIE4811-18 (Design and control of public transport systems). It addressess more details and insights into public transport operations and modelling. The following topics will be covered: - Determinants of public transport mode and route choice - Principles, approaches and tools for transit assignment - Design principles and dilemmas for demand responsive public transport - Control measures (eg headway control, rescheduling, holding, etc) The main goal of the course is to evaluate and debate public transport operations and modelling, deepening the knowledge of students on efficient operations and control and modelling (both strategic and tactical)


Research Opportunities

MSc Thesis: How should trains drive themselves?

This project offers multiple scientific and practical directions that could be investigated individually or combined such as developing new mathematical models and trajectory tracking approaches for ATO. Expectedresearch steps are:

  • Literature study on trajectory tracking algorithms
  • Data preparation
  • Develop a trajectory tracking algorithm suitable for an ATO application
  • Experimental study
  • Write a report and a scientific paper

MSc Thesis: The impact of Robust Train Path Envelopes on Line Capacity

This project aims to assess the impact on line capacity of robust train path envelopes that aim to mitigate the impact of the stochasticity present in railway operation. Furthermore, the capacity usage will be compared with other methods Expected research steps are:

  • Literature study of existing articles
  • Data preparation
  • Develop a capacity assessment method for robust train path envelopes
  • Experimental study
  • Write a report and a scientific paper

MSc Thesis: Robust Driver Advisory Systems and Automatic Train Operation

This project offers multiple scientific and practical directions that could be investigated individually or combined such as new mathematical models and approaches, like robust train trajectory optimization. Expectedresearch steps are:

  • Literature study of existing articles
  • Data preparation
  • Develop new robust automation model
  • Experimental study
  • Write a report and a scientific paper

Msc Thesis: Modeling Virus Spread in Air Travel Networks

The aim of this graduation project is to gain an insight in how different network structure designs affect virus spreading with an application to aviation networks. The research primarily focuses on the comparison of the two competing network paradigms being H&S and P2P.

MSc Thesis: Investigating the Spatial Scale of Segregation in Cities

In this project, you will investigate the spatial scale of segregation in a set of cities and possibly the role of public transport therein. This consists of measuring segregation at a fine-grain resolution level, applying a regionalization method to aggregate spatial units into larger areas of similar segregation levels, and measuring the size of these areas. Then, you will analyze the size distribution of these segregated areas, and compare various cities. Finally, you will explore the geographic, demographic and urban factors relating to the spatial scale of segregation in the set of cities considered.

MSc Thesis: Exploring the impact of a new public transportation alternative from a behavioural point of view

When public transport passengers are faced with a new travel alternative, such as the opening of a new metro line, they experience a learning process in terms of incorporating such alternative into their daily routine. Today, this situation is modelled as if passengers were familiar with the level of service they will experience when travelling in this new alternative the same way they are with the rest of their existing choice set (i.e., perfect information). However, this is hardly the case, as it has been shown in the literature that there are factors such as the tendency to maintain habitual choices (inertia) or the uncertainty generated by an unknown alternative that affect choice. Thus, a better understanding of the adoption process of a new transportation alternative could improve the predictions we make today regarding the use of future network modifications and expansions.

MSc Thesis: Public transport service optimisation

There are ample examples of optimisation problems in public transport service design. This includes among others service synchronization and the design of stopping patterns. For any graduation project within this realm, the outline of the project consists of a review of the state-of-the-art on solving this public transport optimisation problem, the definition of a set of problem instances to use as benchmark, the development of efficient algorithms to solve the benchmark, and their evaluation in terms of the quality of the solutions found and their computational performance.

MSc Thesis: Trading behavior in a market for multi-modal mobility credits

In this project you will study the trading behavior of travelers in a mobility credit market. More specifically, an experiment will be designed and executed where participants interact with a (simulated) credit market and make decisions on buying, selling and consuming credits. The graduation project will be part of the DIT4TraM project funded under EU Horizon 2020.

MSc Thesis: Pseudospectral train motion parameter estimation (thesis performed together with NS)

Calibrating a Train Trajectory Optimizer requires an accurate estimation of the input parameters of the differential equation that models the train motion. To this end, the main objective of this project is to develop a Train Motion Parameter Estimation algorithm based on a direct transcription method, the pseudo spectral discretization. Such an algorithm can be used for calibrating several applications in the railway industry, leading ultimately to a more precise railway operation and planning, to optimize the networ kcapacity, to increase the punctuality rates and to provide an overall better service for passengers and freight companies.

MSc Thesis: Shared mobility service providers’ strategies

Int his project you will study the implications of alternative strategic behaviours that may be undertaken by shared mobility service operators that act in a competitive environment.

Theproject will involve the following steps:

  • Develop an agent based simulation model to mimic adaptive service providers’ strategicdecisions
  • Design and conduct a series of experiments to test prevailing market conditions under avariety of circumstances (e g number of service providers, demand levels, quality of publictransport alternatives, service providers initial investment barriers)
  • Outline likely scenarios and possible policy pathways

MSc Thesis: Welfare maximization for a multi-modal transport system

In this project, you will compare mobility credit policies and their impact on service level. The project will involve the following steps:

  • Identifying the actors in a multimodal transport system
  • Incorporating the behavioural aspect in an agent-based simulation framework assuming that VOT of modes are known
  • Testing different mobility credit scenarios and measuring its impact on service level
  • Outline likely scenarios and possible policy pathways

MSc Thesis: Public Transport Network Accessibility and Equity Analysis

You will stuy the potential effects on accessibility caused by changes on two dimensions ofpublic transport systems the physical network (i e infrastructure and the fare scheme Thegoal is to evaluate how improvements in the transport network e g increased operationalspeed in a given route or in the fare scheme e g new fare products might improve theaccessibility of passengers in a public transport network to a given set of areas points ofinterest Moreover the distribution of this accessibility measure will be studied in terms ofequity to assess whether residents of comparable areas of the city are provided with similarlevels of accessibility

MSc Thesis: Topological Recoverability of Public Transport Networks

In this project you will study public transport network recoverability, i.e. the ability of a networkto recover to a desired performance level, after suffering failures or attacks. So far,recoverability analysis, which is based on principles from Network Science, has only beenapplied to synthetic instances and pure topological metrics, such as connectivity. This analysishas the potential to expand on some of the vulnerability analysis techniques commonly deployedfor the investigation of transport networks.

MSc Thesis: Dynamic contact graphs for epidemic modelling using smart card data

In a period where sharing and crowding are becoming a public health concern, the efficiency offered by mass transport becomes a potential peril. The objective of this thesis is to further construct dynamic contact graphs that reflect the contacts of a person across multiple days and use that to build epidemic model that can quantify how quickly and adversely virus spreads within a public transport system under different scenarios.

MSc Thesis: Increasing accessibility of urban areas by implementing first/last mile services

You will perform an accessibility analysis to give insights into the impacts of first/last mile services on the catchment area enabled by new services You will integrate insights from behavioral studies to identify the potential usage of alternative modes in performing last mile trips You will apply your analysis to a geographical area of choice in the Netherland to identify how the deployment of different first/last mile services can impact the accessibility of public transport based trips.

MSc Thesis: Real time on board passenger load prediction for trams

In this master graduation project, you will use different data sources in order to be able to deduce the number of people who are currently on board a tram and predict for the next stops how many will board and alight This is challenging, because there are no sensors available which are counting the number of travelers in a direct way you will be using real time and historical data from the tram vehicles as well as publicly available data such as weather conditions, events, holidays etc.

MSc Thesis: Day-to-day dynamics in ridesourcing supply

Unlike traditional transit services, ridesourcing platforms like Uber and Lyft operate in the gig economy. Flexible labour (or 'gig') agreements permit freelance drivers to work for the platform when their opportunity costs of labour are low. Many questions remain unanswered in relation to the value of flexible work for drivers and the implications for travellers and service provider. In this MSc project, you can choose which questions you would like to answer. For example, it may be interesting to learn how part-time and full-time labour supply coevolve and to what extent platforms are dependent on driver retention. You may also evaluate the effectiveness of policy interventions such as a supply cap under different circumstances. To do so, you will develop and implement a model for ridesourcing supply and perform experiments testing several variables in ridesourcing provision. 

MSc Thesis: Investigating user preferences for on-demand mobility services

Last year (before covid-19), we carried out two extensive SP surveys on the preferences towards on-demand mobility for urban and train station access trips. There is however still much to be explored within the datasets. Potential research questions and topics include:

  • Are there any regional differences (in NL) in traveller preferences towards FLEX
  • Clustering respondents based on their attitudes towards FLEX services
  • Are on demand services perceived like shared modes (public transport) or private modes (car, bike)?
  • Do people choose to maximise utility or minimise regret when choosing the access mode and train station
  • Analysing the impact of train station proximity on access and station choice
  • Access mode or train station? What do travellers choose first?
  • How does train usage frequency affect access mode choice?

MSc Thesis: MSc thesis in the Public Transport industry

Interested to join the Smart Public Transport Lab in doing scientific research with societal value? Depending on your preferences, we discuss and find an opportunity in which we combine practical challenges and scientific research gaps. This could relate to different planning levels (from strategic design to operational control) and domains (behavior, data, modelling, policy, design for instance). The focus could be on conventional public transport, emerging modes and/or access/egress and multimodality. Together, we will find a suitable position in the industry, for instance at the government, an operator or consultancy company.

MSc Thesis: Passenger delay propagation in metro systems and their causes

This project involves analysing the characteristics of passenger delays using a large database consisting of passenger, train and disruption data for the Washington DC metro system. Thereafter, developing a model for capturing passenger delay patterns and applying it to the data from Washington DC. The model should co-relate causes and durations of disruptions with spillover effects, i.e. a pass-delay propagation model, possibly also looking into the recovery time.

MSc Thesis: Can shared rides compete with public transport?

In this graduation project you will use a shareability algorithm recently developed at the Smart Public Transport Lab, where trip demand for Amsterdam and other Dutch cities is matched into shared rides.

You will:

  • Use and develop state-of-the-art shareability algorithms, open source PT route planners, transit network design algorithm and techniques.
  • Analyze and compare two dataset to understand how shared rides may compete with PT.
  • Find spatial and temporal patterns, identify target socio-demographical groups and try to induce a critical mass needed for shared rides to become profitable.
  • Identify areas and relations with high potential for shared rides and target operations there.
  • Determine if and how shared rides can become an appealing alternative in Amsterdam.

MSc Thesis: Bus network configurations to complement evolving metro networks

Urban rail serves are the backbone of metropolitan public transport networks The development of new metro lines should be accompanied with the re design of the remaining public transport network given the expected consequences for passenger demand and level of service This is especially true in the case of megacities that are currently undergoing dramatic developments, such as Bangalore, India The Bangalore metro network consists of 45 km with a daily ridership of 400 000 trips The city also has 6 500 buses operating on a much wider network across the city and having a daily ridership of 3 5 million trips As the metro network evolves further to reach 200 km by 2030 it is likely that some of the longer distance bus trips shift to the metro, thereby reducing bus demand on overlapping corridors Analysing alternative configurations of redesigning the bus network to complement the metro network while meeting their core bus user demand can provide valuable insights to Bangalore and many other cities developing their metro systems

MSc Thesis: Long-distance travel in a post-COVID-19 world

The outbreak of COVID-19 has had and will continue to have an unprecedented impact on our lives. International travel has been limited almost exclusively to urgent trips and repatriation flights. The airline industry is predicting a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of travel in 2023 at the earliest. Many are also pushing for green policies in the transition period.The outbreak of COVID-19 has had and will continue to have an unprecedented impact on our lives. International travel has been limited almost exclusively to urgent trips and repatriation flights. The airline industry is predicting a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of travel in 2023 at the earliest. Many are also pushing for green policies in the transition period.

People mainly used to travel long-distance for business, leisure or to visit family/friends. But how will that change in the following months? Will strict safety measures calm passengers or further dissuade them from flying? Will more costly flights (due to possible collapses of low-cost airlines or lower allowed occupancy of aircraft) deter many ‘unnecessary weekend’ trips? Will people travel more with long-distance high-speed trains, by bus, by car or perhaps not travel internationally at all in the near future and rather travel more locally? And how does all of that relate to their own perceptions of safety, vulnerability and trust in protective measures?

MSc Thesis: City-wide benefits of shared taxi rides

Modern taxi services, also known as ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft offer in addition to individual rides also shared rides, where travellers pay less while allowing for longer travel and/or waiting time. Pooling passengers into shared-rides is believed to be a game-changer in modern mobility as a service (MaaS). There are high expectations on reducing congestion and externalities of car traffic through providing door-todoor alternative service at a low price. At the same time, the potential for pooling rides and the additional empty-vehicle trips it may induce, remain largely unknown and call for the development of new methods and experiments. Recently proposed methods allow to match trips into attractive shared rides, applicable also for large sets of urban trips. Single OD trip requests are effectively matched into shared rides, attractive due to price discount compensating for the discomfort of sharing. Resulting shared-rides may be further analysed and quantified to understand the actual scale and potent of trip sharing benefits.

MSc Thesis: Unravelling Passenger Demand Patterns using Smart Card Data

Smart card data from the Stockholm region is available for this project. Passengers tap-in on buses or at station gates in the case of metro and commuter train. No tap-outs are available but they have been inferred in a previous project, making is possible to estimate OD matrices and travel patterns. The master graduation project will involve the following one or more of the following activities, all in relation to the case of the smart card data in the Stockholm region: Analysing origin-destination demand patterns including spatial clustering; Segmenting passenger demand based on travel patterns; Test the tap-out inference technique by calibrating it against counts; Investigate the impacts of a major network change – new commuter train stations and frequencies - on passenger travel patterns.

Smart Public Transport Lab

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 Phone: +31 (0)6 15908644

 P.O. Box 5048
 2600 GA Delft

Visiting address:
 Building 23
Stevinweg 1
 2628 CN Delft