PhD scholarship in Transport Network Modelling

Wednesday 14 Apr 21

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Apply no later than 15 May 2021
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If you are interested in transport networks and in exploring what drives the route choice of travellers, then this three year PhD position is the right one for you. At DTU Management, you will break ground in using large-scale data sources to devise new ways of modelling the route choice of travellers and in representing transport networks in models.

Congestion is rapidly increasing on the road network in the Greater Copenhagen Area, and the same tendency is seen in many metropolitan areas around the world. This is a nuisance to travellers, and causes huge daily societal losses. In order to be able to address the impacts of potential policies or infrastructure investments to address this, it is essential to have available a transport prediction model capable of giving a realistic representation of the route choices of travellers and the network congestion state. Developing and applying such network- and route choice models to large-scale networks is the overall focus of the PhD study.

The PhD position is part of a project funded by a research grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark, with employment as soon as possible. This aim is similar to the focus of the PhD study, namely to develop and apply novel network- and route choice models to large-scale networks.

You will be part of the Network Modelling Group in the Division of Transport, DTU Management. The research group consists of scholars with expert knowledge within various aspects of the field - we work across all modes of transport, with focus on developing large-scale applicable methods and gaining behavioural insights from large-scale data sources.

Responsibilities and qualifications
You will be given freedom to shape your research topic according to your interests, as long as it is aligned with the overall project, which you will be a significant contributor to. More specifically, in the project we will look into GPS data to identify behavioural patterns, particularly related to the detours travellers are willing to accept. This we will use to formulate a consistent model and corresponding solution algorithms, which utilise specifics of the model to facilitate efficient application to real-life cases. Lastly, we will perform large-scale application to demonstrate model applicability and capabilities.

The research topics you may investigate include one or several of the following:

  • Empirical analysis of data: Exploration, statistical analysis and modelling of a unique Big Data set from GPS units installed in vehicles. You will investigate the route choice preferences of travellers and possible network characteristics of routes chosen/not chosen
  • Theoretical models of behaviour: Development of consistent theoretical model that exploits the insights gained from the empirical analysis. This could e.g. be formulation of a novel model that limits the set of considered routes due to criteria on detours
  • Algorithms for large-scale network applications: Devise solution algorithms that can solve large-scale networks within reasonable computation time, facilitated by consistently reducing the complex transport network to a limited set of considered alternatives
  • Real-life application: Implement algorithms efficiently and apply to large-scale case. Perform calibration and validation using Big Data set of GPS observations.

The impact of the project has the potential to be huge, as the output could solve a massive challenge in current transport models and ultimately support that decisions regarding the transportation system of tomorrow is based on a better foundation. The overall project has aim to develop insights and methods that will be used for supporting transport policy making by the Ministry of Transport and the Danish Road Directorate.

You must have

  • A two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in Transportation Modelling or engineering, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics and Statistics,  behavioural or experimental economics, or related
  • Decent programming capabilities in at least one language such as Matlab, Java or Python
  • Transportation Modelling disciplines in the education background is favoured

The following soft skills are also important:

  • Curiosity and interest about how transportation networks operate and perform
  • Good communication skills in English, both written and orally
  • Willingness to engage in group-work with a multi-national team

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by 15 May 2021.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. Read more about the attractive salary terms at Salary paid to PhD students.  

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Thomas Kjær Rasmussen, or Professor Otto Anker Nielsen,

You can read more about DTU Management at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 15 May 2021 (Danish time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • PDF-version of Master thesis and English articles if available

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Management contributes actively to the development of management tools and optimization of processes by using and re-thinking theoretical engineering perspectives, models, and methods. Through our research and teaching, we ensure an innovative, competitive, and sustainable organization and use of technologies within areas such as energy and climate, transportation, production and health, both domestic and abroad. DTU Management Engineering has 350 employees, including around 70 PhD students. More than 20% of our employees are from abroad and a total of 38 different nationalities are represented at the Department.  

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.