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

Research project: Seat Choice on Trains During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a more negative perception of public transport and has reduced ridership around the world. Travellers are likely to be more wary of factors contributing to the risk of transmission when using public transport. This can affect where they choose to sit in the train, depending on a number of factors including travellers’ own attitudes and behaviour on related choices.

In this research project (up to 10EC), you will:

  • Analyse seat preferences using previously collected data
  • Estimate seat choice models that also account for personal characteristics (and potentially behaviour observed in the actual stated choice experiment)
  • Any other openly available data (e.g., from the corona dashboard) may also be used
  • Analyse/discuss the implication of this analysis on COVID 19 related risky behaviour on board

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: Willingness to share in the aftermath of COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 has had and will continue to have an unprecedented impact on our lives. In the transportation domain, public transport is expected to suffer most from the pandemic. It is (seen as) an unsafe mode of transport, where large numbers of people are in close proximity, meaning the virus could spread easily. The outbreak of COVID-19 has had and will continue to have an unprecedented impact on our lives. In the transportation domain, public transport is expected to suffer most from the pandemic. It is (seen as) an unsafe mode of transport, where large numbers of people are in close proximity, meaning the virus could spread easily.

Shared mobility services however, are not discussed much in public, yet they may still suffer from the same risk-aversion behaviour of users, due to a potentially higher probability of diseases transmission. Having captured a decent share of the market, it is important to understand how travellers perceive the safety of various shared mobility modes and how likely are they to keep using these services or if they have not used them before, are they likely to try them now? Differences are also likely to arise between different types of shared mobility, for example between shared services (ride-sharing) and shared fleets (shared bikes, scooters, cars).

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: Travel behaviour in public transit networks after the COVID-19 pandemic

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the day to day lives of almost everybody. Amongst other changes, people’s public transport usage and perceptions regarding it has been affected significantly. Apart from ongoing, semi mandatory changes (due to ongoing governmental restrictions) such behavioural shifts could persist in the near as well as long terms.

The following MSc thesis project is available in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Assess the type and extent of travel behaviour changes after the government imposed restrictions due to the pandemic
  • Analyse who will (and/or is able to) change their perceptions and behaviour regarding public transport systems in the post pandemic world with a focus on psychological factors.
  • Stated preference experiments will be carried out to understand the relationship between (intended) behaviour and psychological
  • Any other openly available data (e.g., hospitalization rates from RIVM) may also be used

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: Simulating MaaS drivers’  behaviour with Agent-Based-Model

In a two-sided mobility markets where service is provided by self-employed drivers paid by commercial
platforms (like Uber, or ViaVan drivers), the supply of transport services is an outcome of drivers’ choices.
MaaS service providers, unlike conventional tendered public transport, are not designed or controlled, but are
rather the collection of choices made by individual agents.
Each driver is free to accept or decline trip requests and operate in areas that s/he finds attractive. They
have individual strategies to maximize their profit (e.g. reposition to attractive areas such as when surge
pricing is active) and select the service they provide (individual or shared rides). Moreover, drivers may
independently decide on their shifts and working days, including possibly changing job and stop providing
services at all.
This makes the picture of MaaS supply side challenging to analyze, predict, describe and optimize. It is still
unclear how to best represent drivers’ behaviour and how it affects the system performance and reliability.
In this project you will address this research gap with simulation experiments.

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