Post-Doctoral Researcher in Agent-Based Transport Demand Modelling (C3170 B1 ADAPTIVE MOBILITY)

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: PartTime
Deadline: 01 Nov 2022

Post-Doctoral Researcher in Agent-Based Transport Demand Modelling (C3170 B1 ADAPTIVE MOBILITY)

The Singapore ETH Centre Future Cities Lab Global, in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and the Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering at Hiroshima University, has an opening for a post-doctoral researcher in agent-based, activity-based transport demand modelling.


Project background

In recent times, cities have experienced an unprecedented period of flux, whether triggered by disruptive technology, political upheavals, emergent social trends or the ongoing global pandemic. These growing uncertainties have prompted cities to rethink land use and transportation infrastructure provision planned for the future. The ETH and NUS, in collaboration with a team at Hiroshima University, have a new project, Adaptive Mobility, Infrastructure and Land use, "AMIL", within the Future Cities Lab – Global Research Programme (FCL-G) that aims to integrate mobility, land use and infrastructure into a resilient, adaptive system that responds to changing needs, through a three-pronged approach.

First, social network surveys in Zurich and Singapore will monitor and examine the 'drivers of change' by assessing changes in social and economic activity, further informed by the ongoing experiments at Hiroshima University in the joint activity decision-making process.

Second, novel transport modelling and simulation techniques will be developed to handle the unique challenges posed by the 'city in flux', with dynamically adaptive land use and demand-responsive transportation systems.

Third, exploratory modelling, decision-making under uncertainty methods (e.g., real-options) and optimisation methods will be employed to formulate adaptive plans that can respond to short-term and long-term change.

The project will bring tools, insights, methods, and procedures that can provide decision support for planning across relevant scales of time and space. Simulation models and software tools will be developed in consultation with an expert panel of practitioners and policymakers, to enable adaptive planning, improve resilience to shocks such as COVID-19, and reduce misalignment of provision and emerging demand in the long-term. These learnings will be applied to a study of urban development across intercity, city-wide and local scales in both Alpine and Asian contexts, with Zürich, Singapore and Higashi-Hiroshima as the main hubs under study. The project will be guided by regular stakeholder workshops in both contexts. It will produce a suite of open-source software tools and planning recommendations developed in collaboration with an inter-agency working group for adaptive mobility, land use, and infrastructure.


Job description

You will  mainly work on advancing the state-of-the-art of agent-based, activity-based transport modelling and its application in adaptive infrastructure planning using the open-source modelling framework, MATSim, with various tasks as follows:

  • Updating the MATSim implementation of Singapore using the latest public and aggregated mobile phone stay location data sources and then extending the demand generation framework and simulation itself in a number of ways.
  • Development of a choice model and its extension to estimate against data from a large-scale social network survey conducted in Singapore that will attempt to capture the process of joint activity participation within households and data from an ongoing experiment at Hiroshima University that studies the process of joint activity participation between non-household members. Then, extending the MATSim framework to generate these behaviours in the simulation.
  • Further extensions of MATSim include the capability to deal with variables of land use and mobile activity facilities.
  • Running the updated demand generation framework and extended MATSim capabilities for the Zürich, Singapore and Higashi-Hiroshima implementations in a series of scenario investigations over the project's lifetime. Potential interventions to be evaluated could include the expansion of highways and rail infrastructure, Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs) for buses, mobility-on-demand services and Integrated Transport Hubs, and various social and urban design interventions.

You will be working on a daily basis with the co-investigator at Hiroshima University, Adj. Prof. Pieter J. Fourie, and his team, lead MATSim development for the project. You are also expected to work closely with the principal investigator at the National University of Singapore, Assist. Prof. Prateek Bansal, will lead the social network survey and collaborate on the demand generation and simulation packages. Other colleagues in the team at FCL-G will focus on the estimation of meta-models from ensemble MATSim runs to facilitate the development of a long-term infrastructure planning framework to deal with multi-level risks and uncertainty. Additionally, you are expected to participate in regular exchanges and coordination with Prof. Kay Axhausen and his research team in Zürich, who will be working on similar topics.


Your profile
  • A doctoral degree in spatial planning, transport planning, civil engineering, systems engineering or a related field.
  • Experience with computer modelling and simulation (e.g., discrete event, Monte Carlo, and agent-based simulation).
  • A good grasp of probability theory, machine learning, data and big-data processing pipelines, high-dimensional data analysis, discrete choice models, activity-based travel demand modelling, and dynamic traffic assignment.
  • Proven experience and strong programming skills in Java, Python and/or R, as well as in the use of GIS tools.
  • Proven experience in MATSim development and implementation would be highly favourable, as this skill is necessary from day one.
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English.

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in
science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education,
cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge
into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our
university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an
environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe,
yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to
develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.


Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • A letter of interest, including your understanding of the problem and thoughts on a way forward.
  • A publication in which you were the first author.
  • A curriculum vitae (with a list of publications and contact information of at least two referees).
  • Grade records of all university courses taken as well as diplomas.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about Future Cities Laboratory can be found on our website .


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