Postdoc position Travel behaviour analysis and modelling

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: ;

Are you an ambitious and outstanding scholar in the field of spatial data analysis, keen to understand daily activity patterns and motivated to support urban planning? Please apply for a postdoc position at the department of Spatial Economics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

For the European cooperation project ENHANCE we are looking for a postdoc to analyse and model travel behaviour in (sub)urban areas. The project aims to enhance sustainable travel in small cities and outer metropolitan areas and takes a closer look at the 15-minute city concept. This planning concept promotes that residents have their most important services locally accessible through short walking, cycling and public transport trips and is aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing air pollution, and creating more healthy living environments. The ENHANCE project is designed to understand the barriers for the application of 15mC principles in outer metropolitan areas and small cities and provide evidence to improve local planning decision-making.

Together with researchers in London and Lisbon you will concentrate on two challenges:

  • Analysing actual travel behaviour in relation to the 15-minute city objectives to describe the degree to which different societal groups fulfil their daily travel needs by local trips in practice and to understand current barriers to meeting sustainable travel objectives;
  • Develop a modelling environment that allows the development of future scenarios that enhance accessibility by the provision of transport infrastructure, adapting travel behaviour or (re)developing the city.

More specifically you will: 1) support the development of new GIS-based multi-modal composite accessibility indicators designed to measure progress towards 15-minute city goals; 2) analyse travel behaviour of different societal groups using travel survey and travel app data and applying machine learning and state-of-the art statistical methods; 3) help develop integrated high-resolution land-use transport interaction models that allow the testing of different scenarios to achieve 15mC-objectives; and 4) support planning practice at the participating municipalities. The second and third topic are your main responsibility and should allow answering questions such as: how much do daily travel needs differ between societal groups? How important is proximity in the choice for facilities? How much does this importance differ between type of facility and societal groups? Can travel behaviour be influenced by adapting urban land-use patterns, or infrastructure provision? Can other incentives be introduced to adapt behaviour?

The project will be carried out at the Department of Spatial Economics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. You will work as part of the Spatial Information Laboratory (SPINlab ), the university’s centre for research and education in Geo-Information Science. During the project you are expected to temporarily work at our partner universities in London and Lisbon (3-month secondments) and engage with local municipal partners. The remaining time you are based in Amsterdam.

Your duties

  • conducting research (0.9 fte) and teaching (0.1 fte);
  • initiate empirical research on the themes outlined above;
  • work jointly with researchers at other universities in the UK and Portugal from different disciplinary backgrounds;
  • write high quality research papers;
  • present research-in-progress at e.g. workshops/conferences;
  • initiate meetings and share results with the project’s societal partners;
  • contribute to spatial analysis and GIS-related courses of the department.

  • the ideal candidate has recently completed (finalized and submitted) a university PhD in Spatial data science, Travel behaviour analysis, Land-use and transport modelling or a similar field that is relevant to the project objectives;
  • strong quantitative methodological skills in handling detailed spatial data and survey data;
  • proven experience with empirical (behavioural) research;
  • experience with spatial modelling, preferably with land-use transport interaction models;
  • affinity with spatial planning practice;
  • able to establish own role within the project objectives as independent and creative scholar;
  • able to collaborate in groups as well as work individually;
  • demonstrable flexibility and strong communication skills required to collaborate with international and local societal partner(s);
  • proficient in written and spoken English, preferably also able to communicate in Dutch;
  • academic writing skills

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,226 (scale 10)

and a maximum €5,090 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of three years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • solid pension scheme (ABP),
  • contribution to commuting expenses,
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

School of Business and Economics
The School of Business and Economics (SBE) provides high-quality education and excellent research in business administration and economics with a focus on contributing to the social, economic and ecological challenges of our time. Whether it is the use of robots in society or big data, labour market participation or flexibility in the labour market, traffic jams or the housing market, flash crashes in the stock market or choice behaviour in gambling, leadership or change management: we believe in goal-oriented scientific research and understand that progress in academics, the business community and society is achieved through cooperation, openness and social responsibility.

At SBE, all of our highly-motivated colleagues work together closely in a stimulating, dynamic and international environment to achieve our collective goal of encouraging society to make informed choices. Approximately 7,000 Bachelor’s and Master’s students and 1,700 executive students are enrolled at the School, and employs roughly 600 people.

Department of Spatial Economics
You will work at the Department of Spatial Economics of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The department is engaged in economic issues in which space plays a prominent role. The academic staff (around 60 persons) address, in their research, urban, regional, transport and environmental challenges from a primarily economic perspective, combining theoretical research and empirical approaches, often enriched through multi-disciplinary collaborations.

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae including your publications and a personal motivation letter indicating your specific interest and ideas for this research topic (+/- 1 page) until November 15, 2023. We start inviting candidates from the application deadline onwards and the search will continue until the positions has been filled with a high-quality candidate.

Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. Eric Koomen
Position: Associate professor and project leader;
E-mail: [email protected]
Personal website:

No agencies

Similar Positions