Day to day human mobility is shaped by decisions on activities and consumption. These mobility choices include when, where and how to travel; and impact the demand and utilization rate of public (transport) infrastructure. Making appropriate provision for travel demand is a requirement for the efficient functioning of society and a key concern for governments as well as industry.
We develop mathematical models to better understand and explain the drivers of individual activity and travel choices, ranging from long-term choices like residential location to medium-term choices like car ownership and short-term choices such as mode, route and even lane choice while driving on a motorway. Such ‘Choice models’ are used around the world to produce estimates of valuations of transportation services and their components and forecasts of future travel demand. The outputs of choice models are routinely used in cost-benefit analyses of major new infrastructure developments.
Our research covers new methodological developments, produces theoretical and behavioural insights, and provides practical solutions to real world problems across numerous thematic areas, including but not limited to transport, health, energy and business/marketing.
We are part of the university wide Choice Modelling Centre (CMC), which is the largest group of its kind in the world and which has links with many other leading researchers in the field of choice modelling.
Our expertise covers the following areas:
- Using novel methods of behavioural data collection (eg state-of-the-art smart phone apps, driving simulator, etc.).
- Combining data sources and make use of new tools for measuring Psycho-physiological responses during surveys (combined wearable to measure heart rate variability, blood pressure, skin conductance, etc.).
- Developing fit-for-purpose choice models dealing with discrete (eg mode or route choice), continuous (e.g. number of trips or vehicle use) choices or both forms of data.
- Programing our own experimental designs for stated preference surveys and have developed our own flexible estimation software for choice models in R.
Our research informs key policy decisions (eg we contributed to the latest UK Value of Travel Time Savings study for the Department for Transport) and is published in high quality international journals. We are funded by European (eg Decisions and NG-DBM) and national funders (eg Department for Transport).
We have opportunities for prospective PhD students. Current projects and funding opportunities can be found in our PhD directory. Previous topics have included:
• Integrating social influence in models of travel behaviour
• Behavioural flexibility in choice modelling - bridging the gap with behavioural economics
• Understanding hypothetical bias in stated preference data for transport studies
• Integrated modelling of land use and transport related long-term and short-term choices
• Developing travel behaviour models using mobile phone data
In addition to research study associated with a specific project, prospective students can also suggest their own topic. In this case, we ask prospective students to contact us for an informal discussion, before submitting a research proposal.
Study with us
We deliver the latest thinking in choice modelling via modules delivered as part of undergraduate and masters programmes offered by the Institute of Transport Studies, the School of Geography and the School of Civil Engineering. We also contribute to short courses delivered by the Choice Modelling Centre.