UCL Department / Division
The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
Location of position
Duration of Studentship
£17,609 - £23,134 per annual
We are recruiting for a PhD studentship in urban mobility analysis and modelling. The post would suit a student interested in spatial data science, social physics, or quantitative research in transport geography or urban planning. The student will be part of an interdisciplinary research group based at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London and will work closely with a team funded by an ERC starting grant.
Urban mobility refers to people's choice of locations and the means of movement between them. It plays a vital role in cities' daily functioning, as people need to move around to secure basic needs and keep urban services running. Recent research developments in the relevant fields have been significantly advanced by increasing non-traditional location data availability. The exponentially growing range of automatically generated human mobility data typified by travel card data, mobile phone data, social media data, GPS data tracks individual's travel records at fine granularity, with broad coverage and low cost captures the ever-increasing dynamics of urban life. There have been numerous achievements in mobility data analysis in recent years, exemplified by analysing travel behaviour, inferring activity types and land uses and evaluating urban functionalities, all of which provide valuable insights for land use and transport planning. Most of this previous work focuses on patterns, which are undoubtedly critical. They reflect interactions between people and the built environment and can therefore be used to interpret urban mechanisms and forecasting scenarios. Nevertheless, there have been extensive discussions on uncertainty, particularly the quality, availability and utilisation of mobility data, questioning the reliability of the detected patterns of urban mobility when applying it to real-world practices.
This research project will focus on variabilities of mobility patterns across spatial and temporal dimensions and social groups. There are several pathways to develop this research depending on student's research interests and skills. Example ideas could be (1) developing variability measures of mobility patterns in the context of an urban application in London/Shenzhen/Nairobi; (2) formulating variability as a function of space and time and integrating it into classic land use and transport models. e.g., the spatial interaction models. (3) mining, comparing and integrating various types of location data (e.g., smart card data, social media data, GPS tracked running and cycling data) for a better picture of urban activities and associated travel model share. Applicants are highly welcome to bring up their own ideas around the central theme of variability in urban mobility.
Applicants would normally be expected to hold (or nearing completion) an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (such as Geography, Geoscience, Urban Planning, Computational Social Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics) at 2:1 or above. Master’s degree or other relevant experience would be an advantage. This studentship is open to UK/EU and International students.
Please apply by sending a CV and separate covering letter outlining your motivation for wanting to pursue this PhD and initial ideas for the project (no longer than 1000 words) to Rhodri Jamieson-Ball - firstname.lastname@example.org by the closing date. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in June/July.
For any informal enquiries about the studentship, please contact Dr Chen Zhong in CASA – email@example.com
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