PhD Position Planning of On-Demand, Rail-Based, Combined Passenger/Freight Mobility Systems

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: 11 Jun 2023

12 May 2023
Job Information

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

11 Jun 2023 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

In order to ensure the provision of sustainable freight transport, it is essential to increase the market share of rail freight. The emergence of market-ready digital solutions and automation provides a promising foundation for the development of revolutionary mobility concepts, which could transform the way infrastructure is utilized in delivering rail-based mobility services.

The goal of this PhD Project is to design a new system for demand-oriented, customizable, and energy efficient rail-based transport service for freight. The new technology, that is the starting point for the study, consists of small automated rail cars (pods) used for both passengers and freight, which can move independently as well as coupled into trains. In combination, the size of pods and their mixed use allow for the necessary flexibility to provide high service levels at acceptable costs. You will develop models and solution algorithms to help design the integrated operating system for handling, positioning, routing and dispatching of pods. The challenge is to optimize the system at the intersection of on-demand planning, (modular) fleet management and vehicle routing, considering a mixture of freight and passenger demand, using intelligent and decentralized algorithms.

For addressing this challenge, we are offering a fully funded PhD position in line with the European Project, PoDs4Rail. The position is embedded at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Transport planning department, Freight Transport and Logistics Lab, TU Delft (Freight Transport & Logistics (

Specific Requirements

You are a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher (F/M) with the ambition to conduct high-quality interdisciplinary research. You enjoy thinking out-of-the-box and are highly innovative. In addition,

  • You have an MSc degree in Mathematics, Operations research, Computer science, Industrial, Transportation Engineering, or a related field with sufficient background in optimization and mathematical modeling;
  • You are familiar with the field of railway operation, intermodal freight transport, fleet management, and related fields;
  • You have a keen interest in technical thinking, scientific research in close cooperation with practice, learning new tools and are skilled in programming languages (preferably python);
  • A background in AI and reinforcement learning is a plus.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements .

Additional Information

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Selection process

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 11 June 2023 via the application button and upload your:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Motivation letter indicating your research interests and experience.
  • One-page proposal with a rough project description about how you will approach the presented problem and how your skills match the requirements.
  • Diplomas/degrees including a grade transcript of previous education at Master level.
  • Names and details of two references who support your application (e.g., professor/supervisor from MSc program).
  • Evidence on language proficiency (if your mother tongue is not English).

Please note:

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Additional comments

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Mahnam Saeednia, e-mail: .

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Delft University of Technology
Postal Code
2628 CD
Mekelweg 2

Where to apply



Mekelweg 2
Postal Code

2628 CD

View or Apply

Similar Positions